For the Love of Water
How did a handful of corporations steal our water?
By Jim Carey
Living in the Southwest in 1972, I watched the beautiful Colorado River and Lakes Mead and Powell, filled with recreational boats, supply water to the growing southwestern states. Forty-three years later, Lake Roosevelt and the other reservoirs are well below 50 percent. We learn from a study led by University of California, Irvine, using NASA GRACE data (2003-2013) that groundwater storage trends for Earth’s 37 largest aquifers show conclusively that “21 aquifers have exceeded sustainability tipping points and are being depleted, with 13 considered significantly distressed, threatening regional water security and resilience.”
Mon, Sep 21, 1pm
Occupy San Miguel
Hotel TV room
Most of us don’t realize that only 10 percent of the world’s freshwater supply is used for homes. The remaining 80 percent is used by agriculture (70 percent) and industry (20 percent). Though water covers our world, more than 97 percent is salty. Two percent is fresh water locked in snow and ice, leaving less than one percent for us. “This precarious molecular edge on which we survive,” to quote Barbara Kingsolver, “will only grow more precarious.” By 2025, 1.8 billion people will live where water is scarce.
There’s a battle going on for the source of this life, our water. Across the globe citizens are struggling against transnational corporations like Nestle and Vivendi, which are seizing the dwindling freshwater supplies.
Here in San Miguel, the Business Coordinating Council seems oblivious to this crisis, as Atención noted that there is a “lack of regulation of the land in housing development, illegal extraction of petrous materials, pollution of water, and clandestine felling of trees.” It’s an absolutely critical topic that this film explains in an informative and inspiring fashion. Flow takes us to Bolivia, South Africa, India, Michigan, and beyond. Flow introduces us to the people who are being harmed by corporate tyrannies that are claiming the water of their land. Big businesses are making a fortune as they pollute or divert water supplies, or bottle it for sale at prices that the world’s poor cannot afford.
As citizens of our planet, how can we protect the water, our ultimate commons? Are there countries exploring new frontiers? Ecuador has become the first nation on Earth to put the “Rights of Nature” in its constitution so that rivers and forests are not simply property of the wealthy but maintain their own right to flourish. Under these laws citizens can file suit on behalf of an injured watershed, recognizing that its health, touching us all, is crucial to the common good.