Cited Book: Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water


book cover recommend book⇒Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water
by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke 978-1-56584-813-9 paperback
birth 1947-05-24 age:69 978-1-4223-5959-4 hardcover
publisher New 978-1-59558-623-0 eBook
published 2003-04 B0042FZW5W kindle
I went to a lecture by Maude Barlow the chair of the Council of Canadians about water, which she calls blue gold. A few things from her lecture stuck in my mind.
  • Arizona has about 20 years left till they completely run out of water. Yet development continues, with swimming pools, giant lawns etc. as if there were no problem. Arizona will become a state of ghost towns.
  • The USA gets about 1/2 of its water from non-renewable aquifers. They mine it. They are spending their capital at the same rate as their income. These are draining at an alarming rate to do very water wasteful things like beef production.
  • The countries of the middle east have 20 to 50 years left before they run out of water. (This is why Israel is so desperate to invade its neighbours. Water is the key limit to Israel’s economic growth. Iran is a lush verdant country. Israel is essentially a desert.)
  • In many countries 90% of the ground water is too polluted to use. Clearly cleaning up water is the most efficient way to replenish water supplies.
  • Privatisation of water has deprived many people in the third world of their traditional water sources. They have either died or had to abandon their lands. India is fighting back, stopping Coca Cola (who now provides 10% of the world’s consumed fluids (soft drinks, Dasani bottled water, Minute Maid), aiming for 20%) from drying up ground water.
  • Privatisation has usually been a bust. Typical is what happened when Atlanta hired the European Suez company (the people who built the Suez canal and how have half a million employees), to look after its water supply. They let the water system deteriorate. Brown sludge came out the taps. Suez bailed taking the money and leaving the taxpayers to clean up the mess. Privatisers usually get a foot in the door doing sewage treatment, then moving to water, then they turn the screws. Capitalism does not work in a monopoly situation without careful regulation and monitoring.
  • We think of energy as the limit to economic development, but the water crunch will come even sooner, within 20 years. We have to stop polluting our water with industrial waste, human waste and waste from feedlots. There are more pigs than people in North America and each pig exudes as much excrement as eight people. This mountain of muck (along with the cow pies) is treated by US law as landfill and is dumped into rivers untreated. We need to enforce new agricultural practices that make more efficient use of water. We need to enforce new industrial processes to make more efficient use of water. One new consumer of water is tar sands oil extraction where steam is pumped underground. It never comes out again. It is permanently removed from the recycling water supply.
  • An American named T-Boone Pickens has been cornering the market in water. He has bought up water rights all over the USA. Forbes Magazine recommends investing in water because people have an absolute requirement for it and hence will pay anything to get it once artificial shortages can be created. It is rather distressing when Coca-Cola and like companies have a vested interest in increasing pollution to help sell their products.
  • Bottled water does not come from glaciers or mountain springs, but from local tap water. It goes through an osmosis process to clean some of the crud out of it, but then it adds crud by packing in cheap plastic bottles and sitting around warm on shelves. It is slightly worse for your health. It also adds billions of non-recycled plastic bottles each year to landfill.
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