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NEWS: We must commit to a new relationship with water, says Barlow

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow

The Inter Press Service news agency reports that, “Maude Barlow, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which campaigns for the universal right to water, told IPS that while demand is fast outstripping supply, ‘We must come together this World Water Day to commit to a new relationship with water.’ Asked how, she said: ‘By conserving it, restoring watersheds, protecting source water from pollution – which must be viewed as a criminal act – and sharing it more equitably for all humans, the future and for other species as well.'”

“Barlow told IPS the major cause of the present water crisis is that ‘modern humans see water as a great big resource for our pleasure, convenience and profit and not as the essential element of a living ecosystem that gives us all life. So we pollute it. We dump an amount of industrial and human waste into the watersheds every year equivalent to the combined weight of all humanity, pump water from watersheds and rivers into mega cities where, if they are anywhere near the ocean, it is then dumped as waste – a major cause of rising oceans,’ she said.”

“Additionally, ‘We grow crops with flood irrigation in deserts; poison it with mining, nuclear, fracking and tar sands production, and let it drain away from ancient rusting pipes because we have ‘run out of money’ for public infrastructure,’ said Barlow, a former U.N. Senior Adviser on Water.”

“Asked what role the United Nations should play in resolving the ongoing crisis, she said the world body has already started with the recognition of water and sanitation as a human right, which means that every government must now come up with a plan of action based on the ‘Obligation to Protect, Respect, and Fulfill’ this right. And now the United Nations must turn its attention to water conservation and watershed restoration, and to finding ways to make water a means of peace, not conflict, she noted.”

“‘We need to declare water to be a common heritage, a public trust and a public service, and we need to support the government of Bolivia in its new move to declare that water must be protected as a public right and not allowed to be delivered on a for profit basis by the private sector,’ Barlow said. Simply put, she said: ‘We need water for life. Water can teach us how to live in harmony with one another and more lightly on this earth if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.'”

According to the article, “Over 884 million people worldwide do not have access to safe water, while 2.6 billion have no access to adequate sanitation in a growing world population of over six billion people. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from diseases associated with lack of clean water. That’s 1.5 million young lives cut short each year. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be living under stress conditions.”

The IPS article is at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54913.