Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Water: Frontier of Wars and Warming

OMNI WATER NEWSLETTER #1, August 9, 2011.    COMPILED BY Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.


A year ago (7-29-10) Amy Goodman and  Laura Flanders interviewed Maud Barlow on the worsening water injustice conditions of the world. The day before the UN GA voted overwhelmingly to declare water and sanitation as fundamental rights.
OMNI needs a water rights voice. The UN resolution gives us a powerful impetus to have at least one person reminding us, NWA, and Arkansas about the global problems with water and warning us about its privatization and commodification and now the additional and dire threat of warming.

Jacqueline Froelich’S KUAF Reports
Global Struggle
Water a Human Right
Water Shortage in Texas
Water in New Mexico
Bottled Water Dangers

Jacqueline Froelich’s recent KUAF reports on water (partial list)


“Water, Water: Not Everywhere”   By Swanzeta Nciweni

The Council of Organizations and UNA Association of the National Capital Area, in collaboration with USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, held a discussion on Oil of the 21st Century: Water Scarcity and Its Global Impact with guest speakers.

The May 31 event featured Dr. Kellogg Schwab, a professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Darcey O’Callaghan, International Policy Director at Food and Water Watch; Dr. Koki Agarwal, director of USAID’s  Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program; and Dr. Winston Yu, senior water resources specialist at the World Bank Group. . . . 

Dr. Schwab referenced his researched, which concluded that “water is an inalienable right.”  The research illustrated evidence that 850 million people lack access to potable water and for those with access to clean water, women and children were the ones to walk great distances to reach the water wells. Dr. Schwab demonstrated the effect by lifting a 100-liter water jug to show the challenges that women especially face collecting basics for their family.
He also explained the link between missed educational opportunities, employment advantages and violence that women contend with in having to get water so far away.   Water remains “finite,” he concluded, despite efforts of water filtration systems, since research is still determining the sustainability of these systems.

O’Callaghan works on efforts to connect homes to clean water and sanitation.  Her discussion highlighted the effect that the increasing global population has had on demand for water, which has in turn increased the need for potable water seven times over.   The privatization of water has also prevented some populations from obtaining what they need.  O’Callaghan works with communities and organizations in the U.S. and around the world to prevent the privatization of public water resources and to promote local control of food systems. She was a lead organizer of the People’s Water Forum, a grass-roots response to the corporate-led World Water Forum in Istanbul. O’Callaghan previously worked as a community organizer in Detroit as well as for New Rules for Global Finance, Rethinking Bretton Woods Project and Doctors for Global Health.

Dr. Agarwal specializes in maternal and newborn health, reproductive health and family planning policies and programs; she has managed and carried out global health programs as Director of the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program at USAID. Her background includes study of public health and demographic analysis and clinical experience in pediatrics and reproductive health. In her presentation, Dr. Agarwal addressed the issues around unsafe drinking water and the relationship that unclean water has with diarrheal disease. She cited diarrheal disease as the top killer of children in rural areas and explained two methods that her program uses to help remedy the problem: treatment of water with ORS and Zinc and hand washing. Access to clean water is essential to reducing mortality rates of mothers and children, she said.

Dr. Yu closed the program by explaining the difficulties of governing and managing water. He learned firsthand about this when he worked with the government of Uttar Pradesh, a province in India, on water management. The state has a population of 200 million, and the water department has more than 100,000 employees. Creating a policy on water is complex, and for centuries has led to conflicts. Indeed, the United Nations has 20 departments that work on water issues, given that the subject is connected to matters of human rights, energy, climate and politics. Many of the conflicts today -- in Kashmir, Sudan, Israel and Palestine -- have a component of water management issues.       


In Historic Vote, UN Declares Access to Water a Fundamental Right

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The United Nations General Assembly has declared for the first time that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. In a historic vote Wednesday, 122 countries supported the resolution and over 40 countries abstained from voting, including the United States, Canada, and several European and other industrialized countries. There were no votes against the resolution. We speak with long time water justice activist, Maude Barlow.


--Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.  Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water.   New Press, 2002.  The corporate takeover of the world’s water.
-- Glennon, Robert.  Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It.  Island P, 2009.  See his essay in In These Times (Sept. 2009).
--Fishman, Charles.  The Big Thirst.  Simon & Schuster, 2011.  Excerpt pub. in The Week (July 29, 2011):   “The largest single consumer of water in the United States…is….the nation’s power plants….” And a multitude of other facts and assessments (reuse must be the new normal). 
--Alex Prud’homme.  The Ripple Effect.  Rev.Newsweek, “Down the Drain” (June 13/20, 2011.   “The next century will be characterized by a ripple of water crises, growing into a tsunami.”   Future will possibly be “dominated by a war for water.”
--Yudelson, Jerry.  Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis.  New Society, 2010.  Because freshwater shortages are a serious global problem, there is a growing thirst for innovative approaches to conserving water.  Dry Run shows how to best manage scarce water resources and handle urban water crises. 


"Thirst" is the ground-breaking documentary that exposes the dangers of privatization of water here and abroad.    FSTV June 23, 2009?
Complete List of Broadcast Times (google FSTV)

From: Lioneld Jordan [mailto:lioneld.personal@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 8:07 AM
To: jbennet@uark.edu
Subject: I thought this might be of interest for Video Underground
FLOW: The Film that Will Change the Way You Think About Water
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet
Posted on September 27, 2008
Can anyone really own water? That was the questions that got French filmmaker Irena Salina inspired to take on a mammoth project -- chronicling the global water crisis and solutions -- from privatization to politics to pollution.
Her creation, the award-winning film "FLOW: For Love of Water," was a Sundance hit and now is making its theatrical debut in theaters across the country. Her film includes interviews with some of the world's leading activists, scientists and policy makers. But it also looks at how everyday people are affected around the world -- from the United States to South Africa to India and the growing network of grassroots activists that are coming together.
While the film is alarming, it is also empowering.
As a review in the New York Times said, "Irena Salina's astonishingly wide-ranging film is less depressing than galvanizing, an informed and heartfelt examination of the tug of war between public health and private interests. From the dubious quality of our tap water (possibly laced with rocket fuel) to the terrifyingly unpoliced contents of bottled brands (one company pumped from the vicinity of a Superfund site), the movie ruthlessly dismantles our assumptions about water safety and government oversight."
What I also love about this film is its unabashed attack on the privatization of water. You get a look at who the corporate players really are and what they have to say for themselves.
In an interview with AlterNet, Salina told us about what inspired her to take on this project and the blessing that it has become.
Tara Lohan: What made you want to do this film?
Irena Salina: There were a few things. Five years ago I watched Robert Kennedy Jr. talking about certain American industries, which were routinely polluting our rivers and waterways, and I was shocked to hear that some of these free-flowing contaminants often end up in the human body. This is what initially drew me to pay close attention to any news related to water.
But it was not until I saw an article in the Nation titled "Who Owns Water" written by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke that asked the question, "Is water going to the oil of the 21st century?" And this really what got me going. Also, I must mention that having my first child made me look at the environment with a different eye!
TL: Your film covered a whole range of threats facing the future of our water, including privatization and pollution and scarcity. What should we be most concerned with?
IS: I think people in this country should be very concerned about certain chemicals and herbicides that are not being regulated properly by the EPA because of special interests. For instance, there was an article that recently came out in the Washington Post about the contaminant perchlorate, which comes from rocket fuel, and how the EPA is not taking action to get it out of drinking water. Here's an excerpt from that:
The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon, is poised to rule as early as today that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children across the nation.
TL: So if there are contanimants like perchlorate in our water, how do we know what is safe to drink? The film also exposes the fallacy of drinking bottled water. So what are our options?
IS: The first thing I would tell people to do is to visit Food and Water Watch. They have a very articulate Web site about the safety of tap water and the problems with bottled water.
TL: How do I find out whether my tap water is safe?
IS: You can contact your local utility to request a copy of the annual water quality report, also referred to as the consumer confidence report. This report is required by law to provide information about contaminant violations in the water system. The EPA also posts many of these results on its Web site.
For people in New York, they can dial 311 and request a free lead test. If a person finds they have a contaminant in their water, there are often filters they can use.
In order to ensure clean water for everyone, we need to make sure we ban the most dangerous chemicals. To begin with, we need to establish a Clean Water Trust Fund that will repair and improve our water infrastructure. We need to use the best technology possible to purify our drinking water, and that will require federal funding.
TL: What role does climate change play in the water crisis?
IS: Climate change is like a big brother to the water crisis; unless we take action immediately, we will see more droughts or more violent hurricanes, floods and the like. . . . .
For more:    View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/100506/
Tara Lohan is a managing editor at AlterNet.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

“The Corporate Threat to Water and the Water Justice Movement's Fight to Protect it”By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! (easily found via google)
Posted on March 2, 2008, Printed on March 4, 2008

Eight of the nation's largest water providers from California to New York have announced the formation of a coalition to develop strategies on dealing with climate change. The members of the newly formed Water Utility Climate Alliance together provide water to more than 36 million people in the United States. The group has developed a list of goals that include expanding climate change research, developing strategies for adapting to climate change, and identifying greenhouse gas emissions from individual operations.

Today we're going to spend the rest of the hour looking at the global water crisis. Flow: For Love of Water is a new documentary screened here in New York. The film examines how the world's water supplies are diminishing and how the privatization of water is worsening the crisis. . . .
Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!© 2008 Democracy Now! All rights reserved.
View this story online at:


Ocean Life on the Brink of Mass Extinctions”  Reuters June 21, 2011   Reader Supported News

The report begins: "Life in the oceans is at imminent risk of the worst spate of extinctions in millions of years due to threats such as climate change and over-fishing, a study showed on Tuesday."

“Water is the new liquid gold in Texas
D: rcvd 6-19-11   Fran Alexander
Read full article:
Some quotes from:
Water is the new liquid gold in Texas
"With the region having received less than 2 inches of rainfall since Oct. 1, oil producers are buying water from anyone willing to sell. "It's pretty dry down here and a lot of oil companies are looking for water," says Robert Mace, a deputy executive administrator at the Texas Water Development Board.
The water crisis in Texas, the biggest oil- and gas-producing state in the United States, highlights a continuing debate in North America and Europe over fracking's impact on water supplies. Environmentalists say the method poses a contamination threat, while farmers face growing competition for scarce water.
The Eagle Ford's peculiar geology means each well fracked requires an amount of water equivalent to that used by 240 adults in an entire year for cooking, washing and drinking.
For now, local water departments, farmers and oil drillers near Laredo are relying on water from two reservoirs and underground aquifers filled by last summer's tropical storm season. But that won't last forever.
The bottom line: A record drought in Texas is boosting water prices and competition between agricultural and energy interests over the commodity."

WATER IN NEW MEXICOPreserving culture—and the environment—in New Mexico: The AFSC-New Mexico program, whose director was recently awarded “Farmer of the Year,” is helping local people and organizations plan future water use and build sustainable farms in an area where water rights are contentious.   Read more >

If you’re addicted to bottled water, check this out!

Water, Water Everywhere, but Guilt by the Bottleful
By ALEX WILLIAMS August 12, 2007
What was a healthy convenience is becoming a symbol of waste.

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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)