W is for Water worries

“In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154). In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, also will be dedicated to water cooperation. Therefore, UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the 2013 United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation…”

For years, I’ve been hearing that the wars of the 21st Century will be fought, not over oil or precious metals, but over H2O. I was distressed to hear from the Nestle CEO that water is not a human right and should be privatized, which is already happening in Canada. This has energized the forces calling for a boycott of Nestle products.

As the UN reports note, climate change and other human activities are messing up the planet’s “hydrological cycle,” leading to more droughts in some parts of the earth, and devastating flooding in others. The only year in the last five that the Red River did NOT flood near Fargo, ND was when there was a drought in the region; talk about all or nothing.

My concern over a process called hydrofracking, which, according to many opponents, “uses significantly more water than conventional drilling, as well as a ‘slick water’ mixture that is pumped into the shale to fracture the rock and release the [natural] gas,” is largely based on the use and potential abuse of precious water supplies. “There is an increased potential for toxicity and its long-term impacts, [as well as] the environmental impacts of the drilling: surface and subterranean damage including forestland loss… [and] groundwater and surface water contamination…” Where will the toxic fluids go is a large and seemingly unresolved question.

Fracking is a highly charged issue in New York State because the financially depressed Southern Tier region (Jamestown to Elmira to my hometown of Binghamton) is sitting on top of part of the Marcellus basin deposit which could be a boon to the area. The calculus is whether the short-term economic gain is worth the long-term ecological loss.

On a planet of about seven billion people, more than one billion is suffering from lack of ANY clean, potable water, and twice that cannot get to “any type of improved sanitation facility. About 2 million people die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases, most of them are children less than 5 years of age.”

Read more about water policy HERE.

One does NOT want to be quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

29 thoughts on “W is for Water worries”

  1. WATER is so darn critical and so necessary for life! WE need far more education on WATER conservation from those of us WHO are lucky enought to enjoy it and use it. KATE, ABC Team


  2. “Water is not a human Right” is really tantamount to saying “There is no Right to Life,” when you think about it. Water, air, food, shelter; without these ANY animal will die. We really should think about depriving the Aristos of all of their “rights.”


  3. indeed, this is a worrisome problem-either floods or droughts! the more our governments should be concerned about the increase of nature’s fighting back at our lack of concern for stewardship, the less they care. so it seems to be universal, not just here in the US.


  4. Living in Canada, I confess that I tend to take the abundance of fresh water for granted. Thank you for reminding me that water should be a right for all people and that we all need to be stewards of the environment.


  5. I just watched a PBS program — POV. It was about a slum area in India and how the young people are beginning to speak up for themselves and access drinking water. All lower-caste people. They call themselves the Revolutionary Optimists. Fascinating to see how these people live and how the caste barriers are slowly breaking down.


  6. Ironic that Nestle also heavily promotes baby milk formula in countries that do not have clean water. Another reason to boycott. They seem to have a profits before health policy. They privatised our water companies some years back so we don’t own our own resources and about 80 miles south of me they are doing experimental fracking so you can see your article has pushed a number of my buttons.


  7. Since most of our world is covered in water, it’s amazing to me that there are so many people who don’t have access to potable water. i didn’t know about Nestle. Something to think about.


  8. Part of the problem is that most natural resources are intertwined and balanced in some way. Depressing post but one we all need to be aware of.


  9. So right on, Rog. And yes, Binghamton is in their greedy sights – and Cuomo caved on wind and solar and was bought off by the frickin’ frackers. Damn.

    Of note – My former husband and his wife, who live in Endwell, were part of a continuing midnight protest… trucks were coming in under cover of night and siphoning off water from their local aquifer. Now, think… if they screw up Broome County’s water, won’t they have to buy back their OWN water from a multinational? Sinister, slimy… and I thought I would take a relaxing break here at the Net Cafe… but now I’m all agitated again! Good for you, Roger, keeping me honest.

    No time to look at other posts, but I’ll be “back on the job” after this weekend and will look in more often. Still unpacking… Love, Amy


  10. How worrisome! But I agree that water wars will probably (sadly) come to dominate. I still remember earlier Nestle scandals – e.g., encouraging mothers from vulnerable parts of the world to use Nestle formula (despite sketchy water access) rather than breastfeeding. I suppose this is a company that just won’t ever change. I am saddened by the short-sightedness of many in their dealings with our fragile planet.


  11. Water companies have been around for some time. Still I am more comfortable with governmenet handling water.

    I work in the natural gas industry. Here in Oklahoma we have thousands of wells and I’m not aware from any water contamination issues from the fracking process itself. True there is some risk for casing leaks near the surface but that can happen on any kind of well. There is an issue on the massive amounts of water used and I think companies are making good progress on reducing the amounts of fresh water used by recycling water but the retention ponds that are necessary for that are a risk for surface water contamination if the water breaches its confinement.

    These things need to be discussed and sorted out and information given out.


  12. Great post, Roger! Water is very precious! I learned that in the concentration camp, where one tap was running each day for a very short time. We had to share this water for washing ourselves, for drinking and for laundry(.sometimes! )
    Now I am afraid that I use water without thinking.


  13. Currently in the US, the state of Georgia is trying to move their border into Tennessee to gain access to the Tennessee River. Yes, water is precious!


  14. We are just recovering from a severe drought, and hoping the monsoon rains will fill our reservoirs and lakes. Shocking to learn that some people think that water is not a human birthright!


  15. Why should you be interested? Sea surface temperature records indicate El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years and ocean heat content since 1955, not manmade greenhouse gases. I’ve searched sea surface temperature records and ocean heat content data for more than 4 years (more than 3 years for the ocean heat content data), and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal. That is, the warming of the global oceans has been caused by Mother Nature, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.


  16. But an accurate annual record of Atlantic sea-surface temperatures exists only for the last 80 to 100 years, and the tree-ring data going farther back in time is patchy. Therefore, up until now, it has been hard to tell whether there is a long-term cyclical pattern or only a shorter-term trend.


  17. The Nestles corporation is a terrorist organization, the proof is that water statement by their CEO. They are the same organization that pioneered providing free baby formula to mothers of infants in third world nations, and then allowing those babies to starve to death after their mothers’s breasts had dried up from not being used and the mothers could no longer afford to buy Nestle’s formula.

    Peter Brabeck should be given indefinite detention for the rest of his life with 23 hour a day solitary lockdown. Perhaps while in the detention center he should be made to work for, say, 35 cents an hour, and then made to pay for every bit of liquid that he consumes.


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