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- March 2010: Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly, states the The New York Times in a March 14 article focusing on America's aging water infrastructure . The article notes that, on average, a significant water line bursts every two minutes somewhere in the country; some of our nation's water pipes were built around the time of the civil war; and that the hundreds of thousands of annual ruptures damage streets and homes, and cause dangerous pollutants to seep into drinking water supplies. Americans are accustomed to paying very little for this vital resource, the article suggests, and political backlash results whenever rate hikes are proposed. Read the complete article here.
- March 2010: 'City of Indianapolis Rejects Water Privatization': On March 10, City of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed an agreement with Citizens Energy Group (Citizens), a public charitable trust, to manage the City’s water and wastewater utilities. The agreement effectively transfers the City's water services from the private corporation United Water to Citizens, which operates like a non-profit for community benefit. “With this agreement, I am rejecting privatization," Mayor Ballard said. "Our water and wastewater utilities will no longer be a political football. Local professional management, lower rates and outstanding service make Citizens the best choice to own and operate our community’s water utilities.” Read more here.
- January 26, 2010: 'CEO Water Mandate' awarded the Public Eye Greenwash Award for exhibiting "irresponsible and damaging behavior." The Public Eye Awards, intended to highlight Corporate Social Responsibility, were announced in Davos, Switzerland, as part of a “counter-gala” occurring during the World Economic Forum. The CEO Water Mandate was described as a UN-sponsored "club" of corporations that profit from water resources, with members such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical. In granting the award, Richard Girard from Canada’s Polaris Institute stated that the CEO Water Mandate "continue[s] to systematically pursue their policies of water privatization under the U.N. emblem,” without consideration for existing mandatory environmental and social standards." Read more on the CEO Water Mandate page.
- January 25, 2010: Inter-state Battle for Water Ends After US Supreme Court Decision: The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of the State of Mississippi's lawsuit against the City of Memphis and State of Tennessee over the city's use of water in an underground aquifier that runs between the states. In its suit, the State of Mississippi claimed that the City of Memphis had been taking more than their share of water from the Memphis Sands underground interstate aquifer. The decision effectively ruled in favor of the City of Memphis, prompting mayor A. C. Wharton to state: "Frankly speaking, this lawsuit cast a cloud over our community given the invaluable role that water plays in economic development and industrial decisions. Having it dismissed ensures that this issue doesn't block progress in a number of significant ways."
- January 3, 2010: "Will the Next War be Fought Over Water?" In his book Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization, journalist Steven Solomon argues that water is surpassing oil as the world's scarcest critical resource, and that the world is divided into water "haves and have-nots." Solomon writes, "consider what will happen in water-distressed, nuclear-armed, terrorist-besieged, overpopulated, heavily irrigation dependent and already politically unstable Pakistan when its single water lifeline, the Indus river, loses a third of its flow from the disappearance from its glacial water source." Solomon tells NPR that water's cost doesn't reflect it's true value: "In some cases, where there are large political subsidies, largely in agriculture, it does not [cost very much]...in many cases, irrigated agriculture is getting its water for free. And we in the cities are paying a lot, and industries are also paying an awful lot. That's unfair. It's inefficient to the allocation of water to the most productive economic ends."
- September 30, 2009: "The Obama administration, attempting to show it's helping California with its water crisis, has summoned state officials and interest groups to a conference on how to deal with a shortage that's causing high unemployment and economic distress in the state's farm belt," reports Associated Press. Conservatives are criticizing the federal government, saying water restrictions to protect endangered species are "prioritizing animals above people." Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger remarked, "We have federal judges now protecting the salmon, protecting the smelt, we have the federal judges protecting all the species, and I say to myself, 'Where are the federal judges protecting all the farmers?'"