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Barlow warns Nestle is seeking control of the Guarani aquifer in South America

Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow has tweeted, “Terrifying! Coke and Nestle want to buy up the Guarani Aquifer! Must be stopped!!!”

Mint Press reports, “A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer – a vast subterranean water reserve lying beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last over 100 years.”

The article adds, “In Brazil, intense lobbying has been underway since at least 2016 to tap into the aquifer. These efforts fell under the spotlight late last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where private talks were reported between Brazil’s President Michel Temer and a range of top executives with interests in the aquifer, including Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.”

And it notes, “As leading Brazilian water-rights activist Franklin Frederick noted in Brasil de Fato, these companies belong to the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030WRG), a transnational consortium that includes AB Inbev, Coca-Cola, Dow, Nestle and PepsiCo. 2030WRG bills itself as ‘a unique public-private-civil society collaboration’ and hides its intention to privatize developing nations’ water supplies by claiming to ‘facilitate open, trust-based dialogue processes to drive action on water resources reform in water-stressed countries in developing economies’ and ‘close the gap between water demand and supply by the year 2030’.”

In September 2016, Barlow had also warned, “Water hunter Peter Brabeck of Nestle wants to control the Guarani Aquifer in Brazil!”

Reuters has reported, “On [September 20, 2016], Brazil launched a multibillion-dollar plan to auction off oil, power rights and infrastructure concessions. The government will sell operating licenses for airports in the cities of Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianopolis and Fortaleza by the first quarter of 2017. It also plans to sell rights to operate federal roads in the center-west and south regions later next year. Center-right President Michel Temer has vowed to shift economic policy away from the interventionist policies of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.”

At that time, The Correio do Brasil added (in Portuguese) that this “privatizing wrath” could extend to the Guarani Aquifer. According to the newspaper, a senior official at the National Water Agency (ANA) has revealed that the Guarani aquifer will appear on the list of public goods to be privatized.

The Correio do Brasil article highlights, “Representatives of [Nestle and Coca-Cola] have held meetings with government authorities to formulate procedures for exploitation by private companies of water sources, especially in the Guarani Aquifer, in concession contracts for over 100 years – [the senior official] added.”

In November 2011, Barlow spoke in defence of the Guarani Aquifer at a conference in Florianapolis, Brazil. Her speech noted various threats to water then highlighted, “So this leads me to my biggest concern and that is the potential for the Guarani to become controlled by private interests. Already, corporations have preferential access to these waters. You are sitting atop a vast reserve of water in a very thirsty world, a reserve that is not only vital to the health and future of this region but to all of humanity. It is a treasure that must be protected by governments on behalf of the people and the ecosystems of the region.”

The World Water Forum, which is convened by big business lobby organizations like the Global Water Partnership, the World Bank, and the leading for-profit water corporations on the planet to discuss how transnationals can benefit from selling water to markets around the world, will take place in Brazil from March 18-23.