Water is a human right,
not a commodity
|Water resources must be protected as
a public trust so that commerial use of water does not diminish
public or ecological benefits. Photo: Tom Jacobs - www.tomjacobsphotography.com
Ballots will be mailed
soon to residents of Felton regarding whether residents currently
served by the privately-owned RWE/Cal Am water system should tax
themselves and issue $11 million in bonds to acquire Felton's water
system for the public. Cal Am is a huge European multinational company.
Voted ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on July 26. Approval
of Measure W would mean that the Felton Water System would be purchased
by eminent domain and merged with the publically-owned San Lorenzo
Valley Water District.
Sierra Club urges a YES
vote based on our water policy. Principles on which our policy is
based are reproduced in this article in bold type.
Sierra Club believes
that water is a public resource, not a commodity. We believe that
municipal water systems are essential public services and should
not be privatized.
The election in Felton
is a microcosm of the huge struggle for water rights and corporate
profits being played on the world stage. Multinational corporations
are buying up water rights worldwide. Their goal is to make money
for stockholders. The video documentary, Thirst, chronicles this
process. The Sierra Club has published a study guide to the video
which references the increase in water rates and exploitation of
the poor which has occurred with the privatization of water in developing
countries and elsewhere.
All water resources,
including the oceans, must be protected as a public trust so that
commercial use of water does not diminish public or ecological benefits.
Friends of Locally Owned
Water (FLOW), a grassroots group, has been working for public ownership
of Felton water. One of FLOW's primary concerns is the poor environmental
record by RWE around the globe and by Cal-Am closer to home. RWE's
British subsidiary, Thames Water, topped lists of the worst polluters
in the UK in 1999 and 2000, according to the watchdog group Public
Sierra Club was one of
225 public interest organizations from around the world that released
the following declaration in Kyoto at the 3rd World Water Forum
setting forth principles for global water policy:
"Water, as a public
trust and an inalienable human right, must be controlled by the
peoples and communities that rely on it for their lives and livelihoods.
The management of water services must not only remain in public
hands, but must be revitalized and strengthened to make community
and worker participation central in order to democratize decision-making
processes and ensure transparency and accountability."
Vote YES on Measure W
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