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UPDATE: US water market mission to India undermines the right to water

A media release by the Mumbai-based group Pani Haq Samiti states, “The US Government has planned a US Water Trade Mission to India (between February 28 and March 4). The goal of the mission  is to tap $50 billion Indian water market. …Executives of the US Commercial Department and American business executives are visiting Mumbai on (March 3) and have planned meetings with State Government and Municipal Corporation officials. This is the clear plan to convert basic human need of domestic water into business product and privatize the water distribution and treatment processes presently handled by local public bodies.”

In response to a call for solidarity, Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter and Food and Water Watch (and Council of Canadians) chairperson Maude Barlow state, “The promotion of water markets and the commodification of water will come at the expense of the traditional idea of water as a public good and a natural resource, to be shared by all. In the end, the principles of equity and ecological sustainability will be sacrificed for profits. Furthermore, the behind the scenes meetings the trade mission is arranging between the U.S. executives and the Indian representatives and officials represent a more fundamental attack on the idea of community control of natural resources. The corporations’ attempts to capture control of water resources for private profit will come at the expense of local populations and the fundamental human right to water, a right recognized by both the United Nations General Assembly and the Supreme Court of India.”

A petition organized by the Peoples’ Campaign for Right to Water-Karnataka appeals to the mission to leave India. That petition is at http://www.petitiononline.com/gobackwm/petition.html.

Pani Haq Samiti has organized demonstrations against the US mission for tomorrow (March 3) at 2 pm local time (3:30 am ET tonight) at various places in Mumbai.