Essay On Privatization Of Freshwater Systems
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Water, Company, Business, People, Commerce, Privatization, Lake, Corporation
It is the most precious of all natural resources, yet it is not a rare element. Its high degree of importance is brought by the fact that all life on planet earth of plants, animals, and even man depend on water to survive. It is basic knowledge that approximately two-thirds of the earth’s surface are under water. However, the deeper revelation is the mere fact that the 97% of the said water is salt water, and only an estimated 2.5% is fresh water that can support growing crops and consumption. The most shocking of these new facts is that only 1% of this fresh water can be accessed by the ecosystem and humans with the rest remaining far from grasp (FEP, par. 1).
Waterborne diseases such as cholera are becoming a cataclysmic killer at an increasing rate surpassing wars and violence worldwide. Though a shocking piece of information, lacking the ability to access clean freshwater due to the high-cost implication can and does lead to the cruel development. This is because by privatizing water sources once owned by the municipality of a given county leaves the residents of such areas having to rely on these corporations to get fresh water for drinking, cooking, and other usage. However, with the inflated prices these firms charge the fewer privileged members of such a society will have no option but walk for miles searching for a cheaper affordable source of fresh water, which in the end is unclean and harmful. Throwing salt to the wound, due to unsafe water Statistics places the death of babies at 240 every hour, while approximately 1.5 million children under the age of five perish every year after succumbing to typhoid fever and cholera due to unsanitary water conditions (Haqopian, par. 7). The need to give the sad, alarming facts is but to show the gravity and significance of a person having a clean, fresh water supply in place where all can afford if not free to receive.
The people of South Africa know it firsthand about water privatization and its effects on daily life, especially the large portion of the populace, which is made up of low-income earners. Research has it that despite the African National Congress promising its people a constitution that declares all services deemed essential such as water, shelter, electricity, and heat to be guaranteed to all South Africans regardless of social class and race the reality on the ground is very different (Lake, par. 13). Critics believe that all this is brought about by the World Bank, imposing austerity measures which governments tend to abide by so that they can secure funding while others are misinformed that by privatizing their freshwater source more benefits will be enjoyed by the town and its people.
It will be absurd for one to argue that there can be an actual water shortage in South Africa yet many South Africans cannot access clean water without paying and due to the high fixed prices, which this group cannot afford they opt to walk over long distances to get the free but contaminated water from wells and springs thus ending up victims to cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever (Lake, par. 14). This situation is the reverse in porch neighborhoods where lawns are watered, and pools filled simply because such individuals can afford to pay what the corporations charge. Therefore, even with their ability to supply high volumes of water to all in society the corporations turn a blind eye and ear to poor neighborhoods since the people residing in these areas cannot pay. All these facts build up and support the once perceived assumption that to corporations the concepts of cultures and nations, ecosystems and bioregions are meaningless, and what they see of importance is the profits water floods in when sold as a commodity.
As a people of critical thinking, it will be sad to choose regrets at the end so that caution can be taken into account when making decisions. Where the past is known then no man should be confused by, the future for in no time has done the same thing over and over ever yielded different results. If a man plants corn it will be impossible to harvest wheat, therefore, when all is said and done past events show that privatizing of freshwater, either for the local government to raise revenues or due to high-cost implications of renovating old water drainage systems the later has always resulted in greater misery than when the freshwater remains free. Taking the example of Vivendi and Suez in Mexico as a case study one will get the true picture of the horror that follows the promised heaven. For starters, when the two firms acquired an operation right via the signed contract they quickly turned one-fifth of Mexico’s freshwater systems into a profit yielding business. However, the urge to get more overwhelmed the corporations, which opted to raise rates drastically while at the same time cutting off services to those customers who couldn’t pay (FEP, par. 9). Furthermore, the two firms also ignored water quality standards and even went far as to skimp on making the needed and promised infrastructural improvements.
The case of Coca-Cola in India is another eye opener to any community still stuck to old ideals about freshwater privatization. The Coca-Cola Company obtained a license to manufacture beverages in Plachimada village. At first it seemed like a lucrative deal due to job opportunities and revenues, which were to be generated. However, due to the firm’s demand for water in its operations, it used an additional 1.5 million in liters every day, thus leading to a fall in the local reserve water table giving farmers a headache on where to find enough water for crop irrigation. As the water shortage hit, the firm also contaminated farms, free-flowing canals, and underground wells with the waste it produced forcing villagers to fetch clean, fresh water from far (FEP, par. 11). The residents started a movement that gained international recognition forcing Coca-Cola Company to shut down operations in 2004.
In this world, there are facts and opinions; thus it is always wise to distinguish the two and weigh the risks a decision brings upon execution. Therefore, with many research findings and information giving a full account on the dangers and negative effects privatization of freshwater systems have over the stated few benefits, which mostly go to the corporations it would be unwise to make the same mistake India and Mexico did. History shows that although the given firm may mean well the prices, which lower income earners can afford are too low to keep such a firm in business taking into account the high capital intensive investment needed to renovate the water supply systems. Therefore, even if not the villain of the story at the end the community will find it hard and expensive to access fresh water, which is a basic need for any living thing, hence the critical question is, will the promised revenue of today be worth the misery of tomorrow?
A walk through memory lane shows without vague or blurred points that business exist to make profits for its owners and as the saying goes when salt loses its taste, it is thrown away. Therefore, it is with all necessities for any corporation to try and make a profit regardless of who is hurt, and taking into account this age of cutthroat competition of kill or be killed mercy is only but left for the weak. For starters, it is wise to start at the ‘why?’ Privatization is being opted for by the given local municipality. The people of Sitka, Alaska may believe that what is being siphoned by the two firms is but the mere surplus they never need to use due to their full and such may seem true. However, like the Aral Sea of Central Asia, which was the world’s fourth largest lake, but due to irrigation it has lost over half its area size so will be the case with the Blue Lake if the people of Sitka do not react quickly (Finnegan, par. 5). It is simply because these corporations do not take the time to study the water source and note its replenishing period and rate so that they can only ‘mine’ what is replenished. With this key attribute missing, it will be but a matter of weeks if Blue Lake is lucky to survive. However, when the demand for freshwater keeps on rising, then the danger looms in the corner since the corporations will be forced to siphon more so as to meet demand. Also, if the rate of water out is higher than water in then the experience of South Africans and Bolivians will be made known to the people of Sitka, Alaska.
The people of Sitka have been blessed and privileged to have fresh water in surplus and always available for all their needs (Interlandi, par. 1). This fact still stands because up to now only what is needed is fetched, unlike a water company, which siphons what is demanded while searching for new markets to sell their commodities. Therefore, no given amount will be enough to serve their needs and if their demand for water surpasses the agreed one history shows that they will end up stealing as was the case of Coca-Cola in India. The water companies come with promises of jobs, revenues, and infrastructure setups. However, the case of Nestle in Michigan, where the firm offered to create two hundred jobs, but only provided a hundred since most of the other jobs required specialization and doctoral degrees. As for the infrastructures, the firm passed the bulk to the Michigan municipality to set up the roads while at the same time tricking the residents to get a tax abatement package of $ 10 million which would have really benefited the people of Michigan (Lake, par. 52).
The best of philosophers can sit for years and the debate that privatizing freshwater systems are a wise move. However, this will not change the fact that privatization deal only looks good on paper and never in real life. When all is said and done the people of Sitka, Alaska should know it’s the fate of their children’s lives at stake for it may not happen now but it is destined to occur. Therefore, they should not let some few people put their fate and that of their children on the line just to make some money at the expense of their future health and peace. People are winning fights against corporatization of their lives and water, from South Africa’s Anti-Privatization Forum to Indigenous Women Camp in India, and Brazilian Workers Party building a community based water system for the public (Lake, par. 73, 74, & 77). Thus, from a choice the people of Sitka can say ‘NO’ to the privatization of their Blue Lake freshwater system and through legal means throw out the two firms.
Finnegan, William. Leasing the Rain. 2002. Web. 7Th March, 2015.
Food Empowerment Project. Water Usage & Privatization. 2015. Web. 7Th March, 2015.
Haqopian, Joachim. Privatization of Water as an Owned Commodity Rather than a Universal
Human Right. 2014. Web. 7Th March, 2015.
Interlandi, Jeneen. The Race to buy up the World’s Water. 2010. Web. 7Th March, 2015.
Lake, Veronica. Privatizing Water, The New World War. 2004. Web. 7Th March, 2015.