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By Federico Gabriel Sequeira
Elsa Bruzzone says that a report “prepared by the North American Freshwater Experts Workshop (…) evaluated the cost of modernizing water treatment facilities in the United States at 270,000 million dollars, and at 265,000 million dollars. the cost of renovating the drinking water network. He did it instead of allocating that sum to solving the problems of access to safe and healthy water suffered by his own people ”.
Talking about water, and specifically about the water situation on the planet, has so many edges, that for this reason this report has not defined in advance the number of deliveries. What will happen in the future of humanity, from the hand of water, or the water reserves of each country or each region, is an issue that is already giving much to talk about today.
It could be ironic saying that the phrase of the philosopher Heraclitus of Epheso is more valid today than ever in many places on the planet. In the 5th century BCE (BC), the Greek had stated that "we do not bathe twice in the same river." Well, the same thing happens today, either because the second time it is already much more polluted, or because its course has dried up, diverted by some industry.
However, this humorous tone does not serve to de-dramatize a situation that is the one that is repeated in much of the planet. Of the more than 6.250 million inhabitants of the Earth, 1.1 billion people lack access to drinking water, to which should be added another 2.4 billion people who do not have access to adequate sanitation. Result: almost half of human beings do not have access to water in ideal conditions of sanitation, and that guarantee their survival.
The problem is, but ... not so much? The introduction of a religious gaze is worth here to reverse the secular gaze. When food prices, and especially those of agricultural products, reached through the roof two years ago, before the outbreak of the global economic crisis, the issue of distribution came up for debate. Something that in Argentina is a matter of permanent debate in certain sectors, given that there are more than 50 children who die of hunger every day, when food is produced for ten more people than inhabit the country.
On that occasion, Tzví Grunblatt, rabbi and general director of Chabad Lubavitch Argentina, said simply: "God is not going to create man, and then deprive him of the sustenance he needs." Quite the opposite of the much discussed theory of Thomas Robert Malthus, who argued that population growth was going to leave us humans without food. But of course, Malthus was a full-fledged capitalist, born in 1766, a disciple of Adam Smith, and died in 1834.
But, for all those who prefer a merely secular look, there is an overwhelming abundance of data that we will reel off in successive reports, and that show that the resources are there, it is only a matter of distributing them fairly.
And returning to the central issue, which is water, it must be admitted that it is true that there are sectors of the planet where this element is already a scarce good, and many others, where the levels of contamination of water resources are alarming. But, when looking back, from a Malthus to a Grunblatt, the result shows that there is water, and in abundance. The problem is the location of these water reserves, and the risks that their location will entail for the countries that contain them. And this, not because there is so little water that has to be disputed, but because the interests of the powerful go one way, and the needs of humanity, another.
Elsa Bruzzone (*) says in her book "Water Wars" (1), that a report "prepared by the North American Workshop of Freshwater Experts (...) evaluated the cost of modernizing the water treatment facilities (in the United States, of course), and the cost of renovating the drinking water network at $ 265 billion. He did it instead of allocating that sum to solving the problems of access to safe and healthy water suffered by his own people ”.
Elsa Bruzzone says in her book “The Water Wars” (2): “The UN Millennium Project (United Nations) established that between 51 billion and 102 billion dollars were needed to achieve a supply of drinking water. And, in addition, from 24 billion to 42 billion dollars for sanitation in the period 2001/2015 for all the inhabitants of the planet. If we took an average, taking into account the technologies to be used to obtain that goal, it would give us $ 76.5 billion for water and $ 33 billion for sanitation, which implies a total of $ 109.5 billion for the given period. The annual investment figure is 7 thousand three hundred million dollars, less than half of the 17 billion dollars that Europe and the United States spend annually on pet food ”.
The author doubles the bet with a personal opinion that adds to the indisputable data. And it states that “since solidarity does not exist, poor countries are asked to contract loans with international financial organizations to solve their problems. The human being is no longer considered a subject; Like drinking water, animal and plant life, nature and the planet, it has been transformed into merchandise, a thing, an object that is bought and sold according to the laws of supply and demand of the market.
From one side to another. From monotheistic religions to indigenous peoples. For everyone, and since ancient times, water has been a fundamental element.
Bruzzone quotes two texts in his book. On the one hand, fragments of the letter that Chief Seattle sent to North American President Franklin Pierce in 1855: “We know that the white man does not understand our way of being (…) He treats his mother, Earth, and his brother Heaven. , as if they were things that can be bought, looted and sold, as if they were glass beads. His insatiable appetite will devour the Earth and leave behind only the desert ”. The other text is from the Koran, the holy book of Islam: "Through water, we give life to everything."
For this reason, before taking the conflict over water and the future of humanity in the alarmist terms of a good that is ending, the issue deserves to be seen from the perspective of a good that exists and that could be available to everyone , as long as the world becomes more supportive and respectful of life. Throughout a series of reports, Los Lanzallamas will then seek to show the situation in each of the regions of the planet, with a special focus on the situation in Latin America.
Federico Gabriel Sequeira, Argentina - August 2010 - Los Lanzallamas http://textosincendiarios.blogspot.com
(1) Chapter Two, pages 83 and 84
(2) Introduction, pages 19 and 20
"The Water Wars", by Elsa Bruzzone. Editorial Capital Intellectual. First Edition, 2009.
"The Water War", article by Cristian Frers, senior technician in Environmental Management and senior technician in Social Communication specialized in Scientific Journalism. He publishes his articles on the EcoPortal site and in the Futuros Magazine (www.revistafuturos.info), among other portals.