The Planet's Drying Up A Thirst for Profits While Bush talks about an oil shortage, the real crisis is sneaking up on us in the form of a horrendous worldwide water scarcity. Droughts in the U.S., once a feature of the Midwest, are now occurring regularly all across the continent, even on the verdant East Coast, where in New York the provisioning of fresh water has become a political issue. The Pacific Coast suffers from reduced hydroelectric power output in places like California, salinity in Florida's groundwater has become a major problem, and drought has even spread to the area around the Great Lakes. The St. Lawrence Seaway is drying up so fast that oceangoing vessels won't be able to pass through in a decade's time. This is an article in the Village Voice. I am posting it so I can get access to this. I did not write this.
The scarcity of fresh water is causing the birth of a booming new business. Where provisioning of water once was the work of public utilities, private corporations are increasingly doing the job. Two huge French-based transnational corporations-Vivendi Universal and Suez-monopolize more than 70 percent of the existing water market, according to Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians in her new book, Blue Gold. Suez operates in 130 countries, Vivendi in more than 90.
There is also a burgeoning business in bottled water, with market forecasts projecting 20 percent annual growth. Here, three big companies-Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle-are gobbling up the business. Nestle alone owns 68 different bottled-water brands, including Perrier. Last year some 1 billion liters of water were bottled and sold.
The water business is so profitable that a Canadian company has a deal to ship water from Sitka, Alaska, aboard supertankers to China, where private...