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The Business of Water: Privatizing An Essential Resource

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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"The plan was brilliant, it was devious, and it would have been hugely profitable, and incidentally, tax free for many of the (political and business) insiders who held their interests offshore." They acquired an exclusive license to export "fresh water taken from....behind the dam at Ocean Falls on terms that were completely illegal - courtesy of insiders" in the BC government.

Next comes transporting it to America, using supertankers to deliver it 1,500 miles south to southern California and northern Mexico. However, they're limited, expensive, can only service coastal areas, and they can't deliver enough "to satisfy the long term solution to the water issues of the American southwest and Mexico," given the population size and substantial commercial needs.

Eliminating competition also involved "brib(ing) the governing political Social Credit Party (to get the BC government) under the leadership of Bill Vander Zalm (to create) a multitude of regulatory hurdles in the path of the competitors that slowed them down but did not completely kill them so, eventually the Government used brute force (in addition to violating) the Canada US Free Trade Agreement, the GATT and the Water Act (to impose) the illegal moratorium on bulk water exports that denied all competitors the ability" to get a license.

It failed because:

-- it was illegal;

-- WCW became greedy and tried "to gouge the first US customer, the Goleta Water District, by pricing its water at 50% more than the American competitor, Sun Belt Water Inc;" and

-- Canadian political and business insiders "announced that Sun Belt (wouldn't get) access" to Canada's water; only WCW could supply it.

Sun Belt collapsed. Goleta refused to do business with WCW, and after a few years it went bankrupt "although it had raised over $100 million to finance its business" and had powerful backers.

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A cover-up followed that was bogus on its face, including claiming a bulk water export business wasn't viable, when, in fact, California planned far more costly desalinization efforts that "use horrendous amounts of energy, create huge environmental issues with salt residues and produces a vastly inferior brand of water with so much mineral content that it is not healthy to drink on a long-term basis."

The North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) plans to revive the scheme through a new way to export Canadian and Alaskan water to the American southwest and northern Mexico.

Its web site describes it as:

"a project for diverting to the western US and northwestern Mexico water from rivers in Alaska and Canada which now flow into the Arctic Ocean. In addition to providing irrigation water to arid parts of North America, NAWAPA would also generate considerable amounts of power and provide some subsidiary benefits such as stabilizing the level of the Great Lakes."

"The project was formulated by the Los Angeles engineering firm of Ralph M. Parsons Company (to) deliver 120 million acre-feet of water annually; 78 million to the US; 22 million to Canada, and 20 million to Mexico."

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About 85% of the water would go to agribusiness that already consumes more than its share, causing growing shortages for others. NAWAPA doesn't explain, but its scheme involves privatizing a public resource, using it wastefully, and exploiting it at a cost far more than what governments would charge. It also about stealing Alaskan and Canadian water, aided by corrupted politicians, the way giant businesses always operate in America, Canada and most elsewhere when governments go along the old fashioned way - bought and paid for through political bribes.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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