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In San Miguel’s Rural Communities, Water Rationing Is a Way of Life

OCCUPY

By Jim Carey

Like the air we breathe, we can’t live without it. Across the planet, it’s becoming a heavy political issue. “The Cochabamba Water War” was a series of protests that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third-largest city, between December 1999 and April 2000 in response to the privatization of the city’s municipal water supply. The wave of demonstrations and police violence was described as “a public uprising against water prices.”

This summer, it’s projected that four million people in the city of Cape Town, one of Africa’s most affluent metropolises, may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region’s most precious commodity: drinking water.

Here in Guanajuatito and Puerto de Nieto, villages located in the municipality of San Miguel, we have watched friends fill empty barrels from a hose when they receive their only water, which comes only once a week for two hours on Sunday. That must last their family until the following Sunday. Countless families are faced with that same problem throughout San Miguel and the greater watershed region. How many of us could tolerate such a situation?

Monday, Occupy will watch a short film, Consuming the Future, and hear from Executive Director of Caminos de Agua Dylan Terrell, who will talk about the water crisis here in the Alto Río Laja watershed—which serves San Miguel de Allende—as well as the larger implications for the country and the globe in terms of water quality and scarcity.

At the recent El Charco Water Forum, Victor Lozano told us that 1 billion people have no easy access to water and 2.7 billion lack water for one month of the year. Population growth, out-of-control development, record droughts, and climate change are sparking some of the world’s most dramatic urban water crises. Fourteen major world cities are facing serious shortages by 2030.

With agriculture responsible for using more than 92 percent of the water in San Miguel, what can we do? Is water rationing in our future as well? Why is there arsenic and fluoride in the water?

A local nonprofit organization, Caminos de Agua has a mission to create access to clean water solutions for communities at risk. They develop open-source solutions that can be replicated without restriction or license, monitor wells’ water quality, collaborate with universities in research and development, and partner with local communities to implement solutions. Caminos de Agua firmly believes that “successful solutions for water are based on the intersection of proven low-cost technologies with an implementation model driven by local communities.”

Terrell is well versed in the challenges that the more than 2,500 small and large communities of the Alto Río Laja watershed face. Join us for what looks to be a very informative presentation. There will be time for questions. All our events are free.

 

Meeting, Film, Talk, and Discussion

Occupy San Miguel presents

Consuming the Future

Mon, Sep 23, 1pm

Quinta Loreto Hotel

Loreto 15, Centro

Free

 

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