“Water, too often taken for granted. But in many countries the world’s most valuable commodity is literally drying up.”-Christiane Amanpour

Water covers 70 percent of earth, but less than 3 percent of it is drinkable, Christiane Amanpour, anchor of ABC’s This Week, reported. As the world’s population grows, its water supply is constantly shrinking.

“One in eight people lack access to safe, clean drinking water in large portions of Africa and Southeast Asia. A child dies every twenty seconds because of it,” Amanpour reported.

Without seeing the effects of the lack of water first hand, for those of us who have the ability to take clean drinking water for granted, it can be a stretch to understand that our planet is indeed in a crisis.

“It’s really hard for people like us to relate to it [the water crisis], because it’s never been something we’ve had to think about,” Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org, told Amanpour. “Clean water is only as far as the nearest tap, and there are taps everywhere. But the reality is, the water in our toilets is cleaner than the water that most people are drinking.”

James Workman, author of Diminishing Resources: Water, wrote, “For billions of people, finding enough water remains a daily battle that can sometimes turn violent. . . . Where other natural disasters unite society in a common effort of mutual cooperation, water scarcity breeds distrust.”

Gary White, Damon’s partner, told Amanpour that there are people in the poorer areas of the world that actually have to pay loan sharks for their water supply. “Whether you’re in the rural areas and walking hours or whether you’re in the urban slums, forced to pay 7 to 15 times more per liter of water to the water mafia because you can’t afford to get a house connection,” he said.

Workman wrote:

Water depletion has given rise to what may soon become among the biggest businesses on earth. . . . Trading water in a market harnesses human greed. But in the process, it also does on thing very well, better than any government. By sending price signals for the value of water at a certain point in time, it leads to highly efficient allocation. . . . The thing about markets is that they are not moral. They make no accounting of what the good may be for future generations, only what is expedient today. Also, markets don’t care about inequity between rich and poor, just who can pay how much for what. That exposes the risk that by treating water like an absolute commodity, free from the context of social, environmental, or even spiritual benefits, a few rich can control the flow of entire rivers.

Damon and White, in creating Water.org, are raising awareness of the ever-growing crisis. In regard to the burgeoning, seedy market for water, White has  come up with the idea of a water credit to allow people of little means to purchase a connection for their home to the water pipes in town at a much more affordable cost than they would be if they had to pay the “water mafia.”

For more information about the water crisis, check out Workman’s Diminishing Resources: Water, a Morgan Reynolds title. (ISBN 9781599351155)

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://morganreynoldspublishing.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/water-too-often-taken-for-granted-but-in-many-countries-the-worlds-most-valuable-commodities-is-literally-drying-up-christiane-amanpour/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: