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Is the world facing ‘water bankruptcy’?

IPS reports today that, “Rarely a week goes by without a problem of water scarcity hitting the headlines. The acute droughts in Kenya, Argentina and the U.S. state of California are among the latest phenomena to illustrate that the global environment has been dangerously degraded.”

“Participants in the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, heard that the planet could be destined towards ‘water bankruptcy’.”

“It might surprise many to learn, then, that water issues are not directly included in the Kyoto protocol, the main international agreement on tackling climate change. Ensuring that this omission is not replicated in a follow-up accord scheduled to be finalised at talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, near the end of 2009, was one of the main topics addressed at a conference in Brussels Feb. 12 and 13.”

BARLOW: WATER EXPLOITATION A CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE “According to Maude Barlow, an adviser on water to the United Nations general assembly, the underlying assumptions made by many decision-makers have been misguided. Whereas they have tended to view water shortage as a consequence of climate change, the unsustainable exploitation of water is in fact ‘one of the major causes of climate change.'”

“During 2008 the UN’s Human Rights Council decided to carry out a three- year investigation into how access to water relates to basic rights. About 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to an adequate supply of drinking water, and 2.5 billion are not guaranteed the amount of water they need for sanitation.”

It is expected that the independent expert conducting this investigation will outline her work plan to the Human Rights Council at their session this March 3-28. A vote on the right to water there is expected this September or in March 2010.

“Despite the underlying issues of justice, water has been increasingly viewed by policymakers as an economic good, rather than as a universal right over the past few decades. The bottled water industry, for example, registered global sales of 200 billion litres in plastic containers last year. Almost 90 percent of these bottles were dumped, rather than recycled. ‘We need to re-commit to public water,’ said Barlow. ‘We must make it uncool to go around with a bottle of commercial water on our hips.'”

The full article is at