The water in dispute

The water in dispute

More than 750 million people do not have access to a safe source of water and a third of the world's population lives in areas with a shortage of this resource.

The future perspective is no better. If consumption patterns are maintained, by 2025 two thirds of the population will live in conditions of water stress.

When talking about consumption, it must be specified that only 10% of the demand for water is destined to the supply of drinking water, the rest is directed to agricultural, industrial and energy uses.

In these data, by the way, the uses of small economic activities are not differentiated from those that correspond to large farms, be they extractive, energy, agro-industrial, etc.

And this question is crucial to know who is controlling the water sources and who should reduce their consumption.

On the other hand, the effects of climate change must necessarily be taken into account, because they are already having consequences on water availability in many territories.

In addition to data related to access to drinking water, the situation of wastewater sanitation services must be evaluated, since they are essential to ensure adequate hygiene and health conditions, on the one hand, and to minimize contamination of rivers and aquifers, on the other.

In this area, the situation is even worse; 2.5 billion people do not have the infrastructure to transport and purify used water (1).

Faced with the gravity of the situation, the international community has acted through conferences, declarations and development goals, with the qualifier "millennium" before and "sustainable" now.

An example of the institutional proposals is the International Decade for Action "Water, Source of Life" (2005-2015), which was established at the United Nations to join forces in meeting the needs related to water.

The result, after the end of the decade, was reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration and can be summarized as: the recognition of the multiple cooperation projects, awareness raising, the development of the world water community and the participation of the private sector (2 ).

Once again, the rhetoric and the lack of a critical appraisal that addresses the causes of the problem continues.

Cover of Pueblos magazine, corresponding to January 2016

There is no political will to do so, because facing inequality and the destruction of aquatic ecosystems would mean questioning the current capitalist model, it would mean radically changing priorities and subordinating economic interests to those of the social majorities and the limits of the planet.

Governments and multilateral institutions are not willing to take this course and continue to elaborate a discourse that seeks to reconcile social and environmental justice with business.

It is not recognized that it is impossible to redistribute water equitably among the population, universalize sanitation, and conserve rivers and aquifers if the profit of an elite is prioritized.

And the evidence is growing, as reflected in the articles and interviews in this monograph.

The privatization of water, the role of multinationals, the construction of large infrastructures, the impacts of extractive and industrial activities and climate change are addressed by different organizations that, in the face of this reality, tell us about the social resistance and the alternatives that are creating in defense of water and life.

(1) Edition The data used has been obtained from the World Water Development Report 2015. Water for a Sustainable World of the United Nations.
(2) The results are reflected in the Declaration of the High Level International Conference for the implementation of the International Decade of Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 2015).

Peoples Magazine

Video: Indian Water Conflict (September 2021).