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Water Rights — What’s Wrong?

Frankly, a lot! Here’s just three factoids to think about (and there are many more)

• One out of 6 people globally does not have access to clean water.

• Nearly half the world’s population — that’s 2.5 billion people — does not have access to basic sanitation facilities.     

• Large-scale corporate agricultural production consumes 70% of the world’s fresh water.

 You see, for us at Grassroots International water is a political lens through which we can see the injustice in the world: who has it, who controls it, who profits from it; and who never has enough, and doesn’t control nor profit from it

But, there’s a lot happening that’s trying to right the wrongs. And Grassroots International’s partners and allies are swimming against the current of privatization, climate change and skewed consumption and access to keep water in the commons, as a human right for all, and, to ensure its just distribution.

In Brazil, Mexico, the Congo, India and elsewhere they’re fighting mega-projects like large dams and hydro-electric plants that displace millions, cost billions and really don’t provide clean/green energy. Our partner Polo Sindical has mobilized tens of thousands of people to fight for water and land rights and pressure the government to build cisterns, roads, schools and health clinics and to open credit lines for local agriculture and fisheries. At the same time opposing the Sao Francisco river transposition project that would divert scarce water for industrial scale agrofuel production to export « clean » and « green » ethanol. Our ally Annie Leonard at the Story of Stuff project just released a fabulous new film for World Water Day on the Story of Bottled Water that’s making the waves as her previous movies on the Story of Stuff and on the Story of Cap & Trade did.

Our ally Maude Barlow who served as the UN Special Advisor on Water, is part of the Blue Planet Project, and on our Resource Rights Advisory Board has been making important connections between water and climate change, advocating for the world’s governments to pay heed. And around the world there are growing movements and networks that are joining hands to provide meaningful alternative solutions and combat the threats we face in common to our commons.

Today, on World Water Day, we call for water justice and stand with them to affirm water as a right for all and part of our commons.