Studies agree that life began in water more than 3,500 million years ago. The first civilizations developed around rivers and lakes.

Till now, this molecule, a compound of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, found on 71% of the planet’s surface, has been irreplaceable.

Only 3% of this is soft, and of this negligible part, [only] 1% is fit for human consumption and use.

Unequal development and irrational exploitation of natural resources will trigger the extinction of mankind and life. So predict analysts and politicians.

Dryness in some regions, floods in others, wars, climate change and the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan are only a combination of bible style apocalypse.
The first global study of the International Institute for Water Management warns that the uncontrolled depletion of underground water-rich strata represents a serious threat for food security.

In developing countries, the irrigation system used in agriculture depends on underground water. And therefore, if it decreases and/or is contaminated, this aggravates global food security. It is forecast that by 2025, the demand for this essential liquid will be 56% higher than its supply and those have the fortune to count on reserves would be whites with imperial power.

In fact, the war in Iraq also had another aim: to control the water resources of River Euphrates and River Tigris, wide streams in one of the driest areas in the planet.

These two rivers are the reason for the dispute between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Also, the river Nile, the cradle of human civilization is the bone of contention between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

Also Jordan and “Litani”, in the Middle East are issues in the dialogue in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

According to experts, Jordan, Israel and the Palestine territories have virtually depleted their entire water-bearing resources; and, in fact, any agreement for peace between Israel and Palestine must include a section on water to be approved by both parties.

The Golan plateau, the territory occupied by Tel Aviv in Syria, is an important reserve of soft water in the middle of this desert zone.

With an increase in the global population, around 6 thousand 800 million inhabitants, the demand for the use of the resource in industry (pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and textiles, among many others) increases.

Currently there is an ethical debate between those that defend water as a social good relating to the right to life and those that exploit it as a multimillion dollar business.

The analyst, Edmundo Fayanás, published on the website Rebelión that, amidst this fever for “blue gold”, an industry has arisen whose value, according to World Bank estimates, approaches a billion dollars in 2001.

Fayanás points out that among the main industrials in the sector, we find multinational corporations with profit making goals that offer water services or sell bottled water, achieving windfall profits,

Water like laughter must be beyond valuation. But the old saying that “here we do not pay for water” is pure imagination for those that trade in this vital liquid.

For economic liberalism, water is a commodity, like oil, a car or an item of clothing, and although access to it is necessary, it does not consider it a fundamental human right.

This completely deviates from the provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolution, dated 28 July 2010 that recognizes drinking water and basic sanitation as a fundamental human right to fully enjoy life.

This resolution was adopted at Bolivia’s initiative, after 15 years of debates and driven by an active campaign spearheaded by President Evo Morales.

Water, as a source of life, also leads to millions of people dying especially in Sub Saharan Africa. This is due to illnesses related to consuming contaminated water.

According to information provided by the United Nations Organization (UNO), drinking water that has not been treated is responsible for 5 million deaths every year.

But approximately 1 thousand million people lack drinking water services and more than 2 million 600 million do not have access to basic sanitation.

One of the UN Millenium goals is to half the number of people without water by 2015. However, it is an aspiration that is a long way off from being achieved.

Even if this challenging goal is achieved, it is calculated that there would still be about 500 million people without any chance of accessing it; and that more than a thousand million would lack an adequate sanitation system.

The World Health Organization considers that adopting policies of safe water could avoid the death of 1 million 400 thousand children who die every year as a result of diarrhoea.

But the efforts currently underway are insufficient to conserve and exploit the natural resource that generated life and that is converted today into a cause for speculation, conflicts and death.

Anoosha Boralessa
Prensa Latina (Cuba)
Contralínea (Mexico)