By Majed Akhter for Al Jazeera – This March 22, World Water Day, we focus attention on global issues of water access. The statistics are not comforting. The poorest ninth of us – about 800 million people – do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. This is the starkest form of “water insecurity” – the inadequate access of individuals and groups to fresh water. The explosive growth rates and technological advancements of the past several decades notwithstanding, we have been unable to provide a global minority – numbering more than the entire population of Europe – the most basic of physiological requirements.
By Lavinia Steinfort, Satoko Kishimoto and Denis Burke for Occupy.com. Throughout the world there are current battles where people are trying to prevent privatization of their water supply. On this World Water Day, March 22, we bring you 10 inspiring stories of communities and cities working to reclaim public control over water and wastewater services from major private water multinationals. These 10 stories come from Nigeria, Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, Portugal, Montana and California, but this is a global struggle between people, communities and business interests that want to control this vital and essential resource for people.
By The Campaign to Stop GE Trees. Chile – On March 22nd, World Water Day, the international delegation of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, the Landless Workers Movement (MST), CEPEDES* and OLCA** presented at the University of Concepción in Concepción, Chile. The all-woman panel reported on the devastating impacts of tree plantations on water, life and communities in Brazil, the danger of GE trees internationally, and the state of GE trees in Chile. This is a critical moment for Concepción, as forest fires have ripped through much of the region, destroying towns, forests, and tree plantations. Concepción is in the Bio-Bio region where 50% of Chile’s tree plantations are grown. Over the last couple of months, tree plantations aided the spread of the wildfires and for the first time in history, marches against the tree plantation industry occurred throughout the country on March 14th 2017.
By Farron Cousins for Desmog Blog – One year later, not only is the city still struggling to provide clean sources of water to the Michigan city’s population, but the plight of residents in Flint has opened up the conversation about a water crisis in the United States that very few people even knew existed. The sad story of Flint, Michigan, gained national attention because it was a crisis that was entirely avoidable, at least for the time being. Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was looking for ways to cut costs, so he hired an outside manager to come up with ideas on how to do that. Unfortunately, one of the ideas that was put into action was to change the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, which was known to be heavily polluted. When that contaminated water hit the city’s aging water delivery infrastructure, the chemicals interacted with the lead pipes, causing dangerous levels of lead contamination for residents who did not have water filters.
By Staff of Water Protector Alliance – Hundreds of water protectors gathered in peaceful protest singing and praying. Water trucks needed to drill under the river were blocked for hours. For the first time in history Suwannee River State Park was closed due to capacity. Suwannee County Sheriffs, Florida Highway Patrol, Fish & Wildlife Commission and State Park Rangers arrived in large numbers. No arrests were made and no one was hurt. The Floridan Aquifer, water quality, and ecology are being threatened. Communities have mobilized and are on the move, STAND NOW FOR CLEAN WATER!
By Auditi Guha for Rewire – Karina Petri, founder of Project Flint, said grassroots organizations like hers are struggling to find a voice for residents who have given up, some of whom have gone back to using the tainted water because they no longer care about the health consequences. There’s a lot of blame to go around and still no clean water in Flint, Michigan, where four more officials were charged Tuesday for their failure to protect people from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water, bringing the total charged this year to 13. The charges come as activists in Flint see despair setting in among residents who have lived through the public health nightmare.
By David Pitt for Associated Press – DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Native American tribe’s fight over its water source has grown into an international cause, with all attention focused on the Dakota Access pipeline’s route in southern North Dakota. But contractors on the project, which passes through three other states, have been drilling under and through rivers that are equally critical water sources for hundreds of thousands of people. One city managed to avoid the situation – Bismarck, North Dakota, the center of government in the oil-rich state and home to 67,000 people. Others, including Des Moines, Iowa, didn’t, despite protests that led to arrests.
By Staff of Camp of the Sacred Stones – As we reflect on the decision by the US Army (NOT the US Army Corps) to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so. Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters.
By Jeff Abbott for Waging Nonviolence – Thousands of indigenous Q’eqchi, Achí and Pomcomchí Mayas took part in a series of protests on October 17 against hydroelectric projects along the Cahabón River in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. The simultaneous protests, which took place in Guatemala City and the municipality of San Pedro Carcha, aimed to force the government’s hand over a delayed consultation on the project in Santa María Cahabón. “[The company] entered [our community] without advising anyone,” said Bernado Caal Xol, one of the organizers of the movement against the hydro project.
By Lucy Tiven for ATTN – The order, which was issued last Thursday by U.S. District Judge David Lawson, demanded the state deliver four cases of bottled water per person every week to Flint households that lack functional, properly installed water filters, and it went into effect immediately. Wednesday’s motion seeks a “stay” to prevent the order from going into effect, while attorneys for the state appeal the decision.
By Marsha Adebayo for Black Agenda Report – Lead kills brain cells, but it took a federal judge to order that households in Flint, Michigan, be delivered four cases of bottled water to prevent further damage to their health. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of the mass poisoning “were rewarded with blanket immunity and protection by the State.” One wonders, “How different the reaction of the Obama administration would have been had ISIS claimed responsibility for poisoning Flint?”
By NoDAPL Solidarity. The Red Warrior Camp calls on all People from around the world to take action and join the Global Solidarity Campaign. If you live on this land, breathe the air and drink water, this is your fight too. Our Brothers, Sisters and Protectors are putting their bodies and lives on the line everyday on the front lines in Standing Rock. FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE CALL UPON ALL PROTECTORS TO COME STAND WITH US ON THE FRONTLINES. If you cannot be physically present, you can still take escalated action to stop the pipeline and support our struggle. The projected in service date for the Dakota Access Pipeline is January 1st, 2017. With that date quickly approaching, we are calling for two months of sustained waves of action targeting the Army Corp of Engineers, investors, pipeline companies, security firms and elected officials who are behind this project.
By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – It wasn’t easy to catch up with Barbara Baker-larush as she walked briskly along the C&O Canal through Georgetown. Even on this magnificent autumn day, she wouldn’t be diverted from her important mission. Walkers, joggers, and bikes cleared a path for her. Cars halted at street crossings. She couldn’t stop for me either, she said, only slow down a little. A copper pail covered with a red cloth swung lightly at her side in rhythm with the long grey pony tail down her back.
By Staff of Last Real Indians – North Dakota continues to escalate repression of the people protecting sacred sites and waters from the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Tuesday, two more felony charges were sought for water protectors, bringing the total to seven. One of the we charges is against Dale “Happi” American Horse, the first person to lock to lock his body to active Dakota Access Pipeline construction equipment.