Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Europe
“We are disappointed that no one commenting on the drought currently afflicting England has mentioned the role that privatization and industrialization play in the management of public water resources. Private water companies have not been accountable for infrastructure management or the responsible use of this vital resource.
“One of the best ways to ensure that water is managed as a common resource, and that both farmers and householders get what they need in dry spells, is to look at water use holistically through public management. Water should not be commoditized for private gain, but stewarded for the long-term public good, in good times and bad.
“The idea that consumers are largely responsible for water use is a myth. In fact, consumer use accounts for only 10 percent of our global water supply. In reality, the problem lies in aging infrastructure systems whose pipes leak water, and unsustainable agricultural practices that squander precious water resources. Urbanization is also contributing to water scarcity problems because paved surfaces create run-off, rather than letting water absorb back into the earth.
“The solution to our collective water woes lies in adopting an integrated approach to the management of our watersheds, as well as using earth-friendly building materials such as water permeable pavements in our public works projects.
“While climate change is indeed a vexing problem, we cannot simply use it as the scapegoat for all of our water challenges, especially when modernizing and better maintaining the country’s water infrastructure systems could address many of the water scarcity issues from which England suffers. In failing to address the health of these water systems, the private companies that currently oversee these essential systems are granting their customers and the nation’s water resources a grave disservice.”
Food & Water Europe is a program of Food & Water Watch, Inc., a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, D.C., working to ensure clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.
Gabriella Zanzanaini, Food & Water Europe, gzanzanaini(at)fweurope.org, +32 488 409 662
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, kfried(at)fwwatch.org, +1 202-683-4905