PRIVATIZATION AND THE HUMAN RIGHT TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER

Today, 1.2 billion people do not have guaranteed access to drinking water, leading to the deaths of 10,000 people each day, 4,000 of which are children younger than 5 years old, who are dying because they drink water contaminated by sewage discharge.

Toxic pollution by industrial, oil, mining and agricultural activities are silently poisoning millions of people. In particular, contamination by cyanide and heavy metals from open pit mining, often situated in river headwaters, is devastating the health of entire communities, often indigenous.

In recent decades, the appropriation of nature for private interests has joined the pressure for privatization of water services imposed by the World Bank to exacerbate the vulnerability of the poorest. Against this, social movements are promoting new models of public participation and social control in recognition that access to safe water is a human right. This is reflected in the new constitutions of countries like Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela.


© Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua 2009