Photo by Sujata Dey.
Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow spoke at a “People, Planet and Water” gathering in Paris today. France Libertés notes, “People, Planet and Water meetings provide an opportunity for civil society organisations from around the world to come together to share their experiences and their vision for the essential resource that is water.”
Barlow was joined at today’s workshop by Rajendra Singh and Michal Kravcik.
This summer, the Guardian reported, “Thirty-five years ago, Singh revived an ancient dam technology in his hot, dry home state of Rajasthan in north-west India. Working with local people he has returned water to more than 1,200 villages. The landscape and climate have been transformed; seven long-dead rivers have begun to flow, wells are full and once-parched fields are now fertile. …In 2017, Singh will visit the office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights in Geneva to push for the recognition of the right to river water and access to nature. The recently recognised human right to water and sanitation is dependent on a clean environment and flowing river, Singh said. ‘On paper, you have declared water is a human right. But water as a human right is only possible after river rights and nature rights. Without the clean flow of the river you can’t ensure the human right’, he said.”
Kravčík is a Slovak hydrologist and environmentalist. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1999 for his work in stopping a large dam on the Torysa River. He argued that the same amount of drinking water could be obtained for 20 per cent of the cost of the dam by terracing the land with small water catchments so that the rainwater could soak into the ground and back into the aquifer. Kravčík says, “The best way to fight the privatization of water is to ensure there is enough water around your home. Then there is no demand to market the water to.”
Barlow has known Singh and Kravcik for years.
Barlow met Singh at the People’s World Water Forum in Delhi in January 2004, and both were featured in Irena Salina’s 2008 documentary FLOW For the Love of Water. Kravcik spoke at our Water for People and Nature conference in Vancouver in July 2001. This past October, Barlow and Kravcik presented at Tufts University in Massachusetts on restoring water cycles and reversing global warming.
Kravčík’s Blue Alternative in Slovakia (Jan. 20, 2015)