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  • Jen Isabel Friend

Solutions to the Water Crisis - 4 Things That Work



Since the last video about the EPA gutting the Clean Water Act was such a downer, now I want to share some uplifting stories. These are 4 solutions to water the water crisis that work, both in America and abroad. Watch and find out of your community could consider implementing one of these beautiful ways in which people are combating and circumventing the forces of water privatisation and desertification. These examples set a precedent and are really strong steps along the path to water justice and water equality!

For one thing, to prevent lowering water tables and draining aquifers, we can limit the population growth of a region depending on the available water supply. Like Bolinas California, which totally stopped any new housing development as the water table reached its limit. They’ve set the precedent, so you can do it in your town too! We gotta learn to live with in the limits of our watershed. So take the idea to your town hall or city council and see if your community can follow Bolinas’s  example.

Second, a great alternative to corporate control of water resources is PUPs, or public-public water partnerships. This is where established public systems share expertise and skills to those in need. Like public-sector unions using their resources to support public water services in developing countries, to provide local workers with skills. It’s been working really well between Stockholm/Helsinki water authorities in Estonia/Latvia and Lithuania. And between Amsterdam water and cities in Indonesia and Egypt. If each public water utility in the western world adopted  three cities in need, PUP‘s could operate globally and provide water to everyone in need at a fraction of the cost of what’s now spent by supporting private companies. This is a concrete example of how cooperation over water could be a globally uniting force for humanity, joining people of diverse cultures to share and prosper together.

Third, Another great role model is Uruguay. Their water had been privatized by a subsidiary of Suez, one of the most evil water cartel companies in the world. And as it usually happens when they take over, water prices skyrocketed, the water they provided was polluted, and services were cut off to schools and underprivileged areas. So the Uruguayans rallied for the reform of their constitution and passed a constitutional amendment that actually established the right to water and forbade privatization. So that’s the model water activists have as a precedent when advocating for global change. Democratic constitutional reform.

Because democracy is not just an electoral ritual, it is the power of people to shape their destiny, determine how their own thirst is quenched.

Which is why the fourth solution I’m sharing with you is one that has yet to be adopted, but will be revolutionary when it is. It’s the proposal for a world water law. The World Water Law requires:

* the uncompromising protection and restoration of all natural water sources, watersheds, aquifers, rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries and oceans

* the rewilding of ecosystems, necessary for the restoration of the planetary water-cycle

* the guaranteed, free access of all humans and animals to natural, uncontaminated Water

The World Water Law holds all governments, corporations, communities, and individuals, fully accountable for their impact on all waters everywhere.

This one Law serves as a unifying foundation for all governments and citizens to work together with community-led wisdom and stewardship councils in ways that effectively serve the health and vitality of the whole. You can learn more about it and show your support over at codes.earth/waterlaw

Here’s the key thing to understand: the root of the hydrological crisis (and therefore the root of climate change) is the privatization of water. Treating the source of life as a source of profit has led to drying and warming of the environment, as well as innumerable health and human rights crises as those without the ability to pay for water are forced into dire circumstances. According to the world health organization, 80% of disease worldwide is caused by unclean drinking water. Let me say that again — 80% of disease is caused by unclean water! And currently, 1 out of every 3 people on the planet doesn’t have access to potable water. Please let that sink in for a moment. By the year 2050, it’s estimated to be 1 in 2 people without clean water. Half the world. 

Here’s a question for you: Can life be owned? Well I don’t think so, No. Of course not, right? life itself is the vivacity under the will of nature alone. But…. if the source of life and the sustenance of life is owned, then the lives of every living being who requires it are all controlled as well. In fact, the Chinese symbol for water is also the symbol for control. Those of us who are privileged enough to have had access to clean water for our entire lives have a responsibility to the full third of the planet whom capitalistic interests, which treat water as a commodity rather than a commons, have robbed. These numbers should be staggering for you. They should be motivating. They should stir the very waters of your bloodstream. Water is the thread that connects us all. Every violation of the water cycle is an act of war and violence against the earth and life itself. And because cooperation and self governance are the key to managing water, water can inherently create conditions of peace. But when water disappears, competition, conflict and war inevitably result. Water can create peace and cooperation or it can create war and conflict. And all the corporations securing freshwater resources care about is the bottom line. Whoever owns the finite freshwater on this planet controls access to it. So the dirtier world waterways become, the more valuable their private clean water assets are. These companies don’t want to see a world of clean water. The more scarce it is, the more they sell. Private corporations simply cannot operate on the principles of water conservation, water justice and water democracy because they're dependent on increased demand to generate profits. So water must be understood to be part of the global commons but clearly subject to Local, Democratic and Public management. And it’s up to we the people to restore the blood of the earth back in every single watershed back into the trust and stewardship of those local communities. And I hope this video and these 3 ideas inspire you to take action and make a difference in your community and in your watershed. 

And if you want to learn how to make a bigger impact, activate your water guardianship and empower your aqua-activism, check out my video and blog post entitled “Water Needs You” that has fun ways to get started with water activism and stewardship.


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