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UPDATE: Karunananthan challenges Nestle chair on his right to water views

The Guardian UK reports on comments by Nestlé chair Peter Brabeck on the human right to water.

Brabeck says, “I am the first one to say water is a human right. This human right is the five litres of water we need for our daily hydration and the 25 litres we need for minimum hygiene. This amount of water is the primary responsibility of every government to make available to every citizen of this world, but this amount of water accounts for 1.5% of the total water which is for all human usage. Where I have an issue is that the 98.5% of the water we are using, which is for everything else, is not a human right and because we treat it as one, we are using it in an irresponsible manner, although it is the most precious resource we have. Why? Because we don’t want to give any value to this water. And we know very well that if something doesn’t have a value, it’s human behaviour that we use it in an irresponsible manner.”

Blue Planet Project water campaigner Meera Karunananthan has just responded with a letter to the editor.

She states, “Since the United Nations officially recognized water and sanitation as a human right through a resolution at the General Assembly in 2010, corporations like Nestle whose revenues depend on access to scarce water resources have been scrambling to write the rules. Brabeck’s prescription of protecting 1.5% for basic human needs while leaving 98.5% up for grabs for corporations to purchase, is a recipe for disaster rather than a solution to global water scarcity. Big corporations naturally prefer market-based distribution mechanisms that would allow them to purchase water without environmental assessments or public oversight. In this time of scarcity, we urgently need sound environmental policies and strong regulation that would prevent overuse and abuse to ensure that the human right to water is protected for future generations. It would be absurd to sell off 98.5% of our water to big industries under the assumption they will somehow value and protect it in on our behalf simply because they have paid for it.”

For the Guardian UK article, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/nestle-peter-brabeck-attitude-water-change-stewardship. For Blue Planet Project/ Council of Canadians campaign blogs on Nestle, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=nelson.