Water is the most unique substance on earth, it is both strong and soft, the only substance we see every day that exists in three states, ice, liquid and steam, it does not fit into the law of physics defying gravity being able to rise in trees. From the protective embryonic fluid before birth to death water not only supports life but is crucial to our very existence.
In a modern kitchen a tap is turned on; a kettle is being filled:- We turn on the tap and water flows, we make our morning coffee and on that same day one thousand million souls will wake thirsty with no access to clean, safe, drinking water, without even enough water to simply meet their basic needs, in fact more than a billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
A shower is being taken a toilet flushes: – We take a bath or shower with little thought to the fact that that 2.6 billion people — about a third of the world’s population — do not have somewhere safe, private or hygienic to go to the toilet.
Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses, including cholera. Tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters fill the hospital wards, whilst makeshift clinics try to cope with the aftermath. The greatest tragedy is, that those who survived this onslaught are likely to be stricken by water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, and hepatitis
A young child is collecting water and carries it back to her home; Africa is ravaged by AIDS, malnourishment TB and poverty. Despite this Water privatization was introduced in 1999 when five water privatization programs were initiated as part of government policy which aimed at making people pay the full cost of having running water in their homes calling it ‘total cost recovery’ this forced millions of South Africans, to seek their water from polluted and lakes and rivers; The result: one of the largest outbreaks of cholera! They are according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (CIJC) are being ‘metered to death’ People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city”
In Cape Town, ICIJ the claim that shortly 75% of public water will be in the hands of a virtual monopoly and other really shocking revelations correlated from case studies of nine countries.
THE WATER GIANTS Suez, Vivendi, Thames Water
According to the ICIJ, who conducted an in-depth study of the track record of the water corporations, Quote “they [the companies] can be ruthless players who constantly push for higher rate increases, frequently fail to meet their commitments and abandon waterworks if they are not making enough money.” For example, some residents of metro Manila greeted privatization as a miracle when two water companies were handed control over the city’s water supply in 1997. Five years later, corruption charges, poor service, and the near collapse of one of the companies left the ‘miracle’ more than a little tarnished. Suez pulled out of a celebrated agreement with the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, when general economic collapse meant the company’s profits did not meet expectations. And the city of Atlanta, Georgia, recently voted to cancel its $500 million contract with Suez’s U.S. subsidiary, United Water, after widespread public complaints about poor service, declining water quality, and high user fees.
Specific Water Problems in South Africa
An excellent documentary was made by Carte Blanche covered this story in August 2010. Mariette Liefferink (Foundation for Sustainable Development) who has worked hard to bring the issue to the attention of the public through the media.
A Fedusa report from last year showed that 90 dams across the country hold polluted water
Since 1999 South Africa was pressurized by World Trade Organization negotiations to open their water market to foreign corporations. Now companies like Suez of France, through its subsidiary Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (WSSA), and SembCorp of Singapore, through its subsidiary Silulumanzi, now have water contracts in South Africa. The result is that basic service access has become more expensive due to outsourcing water management and the poorer households in South Africa have suffered. In 2001 alone approximately 500 000 people were cut off from household water for non-payment.
Former president Nelson Mandela The late great President Mandela, known to many as ‘Madiba’ a term of endearment given to him by many South Africans spoke at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002), stating: –
Has the solution