Days ago, at a meeting of the World Social Forum in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Bolivian President Evo Morales called on the organizations present as well as African leaders to block the sale of water services to private companies.
Especially in Africa, where half of the population does not have access to clean water, this is an issue of life and death. It’s also one of the most shocking ways that large companies exploit the poor in order to profit on their resources.
Documentary films have been made and organizations have been working for years to fight this trend. Large companies move into small, poor villages under the guise of helping them get access to clean water. But what ends up happening is that these companies set up pumps and charge a village for their own water supply. Often this charge is too much for many families in the village to afford, and they are forced to spend much of their earnings just to get access to water and fill the pockets of greedy corporations.
Another trend in privatization is companies who come in to pump the water from remote areas in order to bottle it and sell it for exhorbitant prices around the world. This is even happening in the United States. Because of this, many villages lose access to their own water supplies, and pristine fresh water sources are being destroyed.
Here is the powerful full letter of support from organizations of the World Social Forum:
As water justice advocates from five continents gathered together in Dakar, Senegal for the World Social Forum, we applaud Bolivian President Evo Morales’ proposed United Nations declaration to block the sale of public water service to private companies.
From Cochabamba, Bolivia to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Marseille, France, private water companies have deprived people of their human right to water in the name of profit. We oppose the dominant economic model that prescribes privatization, commercialization and corporatization of public water and sanitation services. We will counter this type of destructive and non-participatory public sector reform, having seen the outcomes for poor people as a result of rigid cost-recovery practices and the use of pre-paid meters.
Looking forward to the next World Water Forum in 2012, we will continue to denounce corporations that attempt to dictate community water service, and we will advocate for community-driven solutions that protect water as a human right, a public good and a part of the global commons.
ACRA – Associazione di Cooperazione Rurale in Africa e America Latina
Blue Planet Project, Canada
CEVI – Centre for International Volunteering, Italia
CICMA -Italian Committee for a World Water Contract
Corporate Europe Observatory
Council of Canadians
David Barkin, México
Durban Green Corridor, South Africa
Enginyeria Sense Fronteresc- Catalunya
Food & Water Watch, USA
Foro Italiano de los Movimiento por el Agua
Housing-Water-Sanitation Associates, Cameroon
Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement, Togo
Kenya Local Government Workers Union
Mesas Tecnicas de Agua, Venezuela
Municipal Services Project, Global
People’s Coalition for the Right to Water (KRUHA), Indonesia
Public Services International
Solange Chassot La Liane Saint Louis, Senegal
Transnational Institute, Europe
VAAL Environmental Justice Alliance, South Africa
Water Right Campaign, Turkey
Zanzibar Water Authority, Tanzania
Photo courtesy of USAID