Water! Literally the blood of life itself. The most precious of all things. Through-out history wars have been fought over the right to claim water rights. Like a nations finances, governments ability to control the availability of water is the only other source in determining the destiny of populations. Transparency and effective governance of water is the prerequisite for all human and animal development. It also ensures environmental stability. Yet, we especially here in the United States take the supply of readily available access of water for granted. We waste it, we squander it, we horde it, we pollute it, and generally abuse the supply we have.
In no other time in our history has the availability of fresh water been so vital for the sources of food that sustain life and support our economy been at the mercy of nature. This past summers massive drought brought the United States to it's knees when our harvestable food crops were all but destroyed because there wasn't in place a sufficient irrigation system that would take up the slack when nature falls a little short. Consequently food prices are now beginning to soar, our grain exports will fall short of expectiations, and so many millions of Americas will have to spend more for less food at a time of continued financial distress all because this nation doesn't have a contingency plan in play to ensure enough fresh water is available in areas that need it most.
Through-out the world where ever there is power to control, corruption of those in control is rampant in governments. These facts will emphasize the scope of the monumental disaster taking place right now.
1. More than 1 billion people live without safe drinking water, more than 2.6 billion without adequate sanitation. Unclean water and poor sanitation have claimed more lives over the past century than any other cause. Corruption is a major roadblock to solving this human development crisis. A study of 21 water utilities in Africa, revealed that nearly two thirds of their operating costs were due to corruption.
2. Water is indispensable for all food production. Irrigated agriculture produces 40% of the world´s food on only 17% of the agricultural land. An increase in world food production will come through irrigation. Changing from rain-fed agriculture to man managed irrigation requires an impeccable governance system, with maximum transparency and accountability to all agents.
3. Hydroelectric power is a vital source of energy, but as in all large infrastructure projects significant corruption can occur from the policy and planning stage through construction to the actual electricity production. Corruption invariably reduces the benefits from a project while at the same time increasing the human, economic and ecological damages.
4. Widespread overuse of water, often aggravated by corruption, is endangering the balance of ecosystems around the world, intensifying local water shortages and increasing the risks of poverty and conflict that come with it.
5.The corruption risks encountered in the water sector are as imminent as they are diverse. They range from petty bribery in water delivery to procurement related looting – from covering up industrial pollution to manipulation and distortion of fundamental water management and allocation policies. This makes curing corruption in water governance a priority for policy-makers and practitioners around the world.
Eliminating the assumption that adequate amounts of safe water is a basic need and establishing the legal president that safe adequate amounts of water is a legal right of every human being would be a important way of mitigating the effect of an impending Global catastrophe. In this way a legal right to safe adequate amounts of safe water citizens would have an important tool they can use against their own governments.
Some 30 countries have a constitutional or legal provision ensuring individuals' access to water. The United States still does not guarantee that Americans have a constitution right to safe water. The time is now to establish this right under the constitution because more of our own citizens now are faced with the inability to afford or have the availability of safe water. If water was guaranteed under the constitution all Americans would have access to safe amounts of water. In South Africa, for example, the 1996 constitution guarantees that sufficient clean safe water as a basic right. This allows South Africans to take legal action when their water has been shut off. In 2006 a court ruling determined that the inability to pay is not a good enough reason to cut off someone's water supply. The United States must provide in our constitution like South Africa the legal right for safe fresh water. In so many instances because the United states does not have fresh water as a legal right corruption is actually co existing with any attempt to provide water where it is needed.
The delivery of fresh water systems and water investments are essential for the safety, sanitation, food supply, and health of all. Not only are they essential but profitable as well with world-wide revenue reaching in excess of 500 billion annually. Now, the delivery of fresh water systems that reach those regions around the world where they are needed are expanding but to have a real impact local governments have to resolve that water is a basic right for the stability, security, and health of each country. In doing so it will create employment opportunities as well thus ensuring the continued economic stability of all.
When the Hoover Dam was constructed ever since the availability of water to the areas of the Southwest have been supplied while at the same time the hydroelectric power that is still generated provides much of the energy needs for the surrounding populations. A win win for the Southwestern part of the US. To ensure that enough fresh water is available anywhere in the United States and provide more renewable green energy for populations is first to establish water as a basic right just like the second amendment. Once the United states guarantees water as a basic right the chances of more corruption in the governance of water and water related production of energy is greatly diminished. To augment other sources of green energy like solar, or wind more hydroelectric power that is a cost efficient source of energy will be made more available.
Just think of what the Hoover Dam has done. It now controls flood waters, maintains a vital supply of fresh water for the whole Southwest region, it provides low cost pollution free hydroelectric power through-out the Southwest, has as a byproduct in the form of Lake Mead which is now a National Recreation Area, generates more tourism into the area and our nations wildlife by the development of the reservoirs formed by the Hoover Dam and other lower Colorado River Dams are an added asset to the entire region. All of this because the Hoover Dam was constructed during a time of the Great Depression.
If the United States took the lead in building this engineering feat during a time of continued economic uncertainty much like we are facing today the argument of not establishing fresh water as a basic right and not developing an intercontinental water way doesn't hold merit. To advert an impending catastrophe where lives and livelihoods are at risk the availability of fresh water as a basic right must be established along with a water transfer system to areas that need it. In this way the power that is generated will be an added asset to provide the pollution free energy needs of this country.