Newsweek on the Race to Buy Up the World’s Water

Julie Slavet
Oct 14, 2010

This week’s Newsweek contains an fascinating article that asks the question, “Should private companies control our most precious natural resource?” Calling water “the new oil,” the article examines a series of important issues surrounding water rights and water privatization. An excerpt:

“Water has been a public resource under public domain for more than 2,000 years,” says James Olson, an attorney who specializes in water rights. “Ceding it to private entities feels both morally wrong and dangerous.”

Everyone agrees that we are in the midst of a global freshwater crisis. Around the world, rivers, lakes, and aquifers are dwindling faster than Mother Nature can possibly replenish them; industrial and household chemicals are rapidly polluting what’s left. Meanwhile, global population is ticking skyward. Goldman Sachs estimates that global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, and the United Nations expects demand to outstrip supply by more than 30 percent come 2040.

In the article, Olson argues, “Markets don’t care about the environment. And they don’t care about human rights. They care about profit.” Do you agree with him? Let us know what you think!

You can read the article here or pick up a paper copy — it’s the cover story!

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