By Karen Piper
"There's funds in Thirst," reads a headline within the big apple occasions. The CEO of Nestl, purveyor of bottled water, heartily has the same opinion. you will need to supply water a marketplace worth, he says in a promotional video, so "we're all acutely aware that it has a price." yet in case you don't have any entry to wash water, a 5th of the world's inhabitants, the fee is thirst. this can be the scary panorama that Karen Piper conducts us via in The fee of Thirst—one the place thirst is political, drought is a enterprise chance, and a growing number of of our most crucial traditional source is managed through multinational organisations. In visits to the new spots of water shortage and the hotshots in water finance, Piper exhibits us what occurs while international companies with mafia-like powers purchase up the water provide and switch off the faucets of people that can't pay: border disputes among Iraq and Turkey, a "revolution of the thirsty" in Egypt, highway fights in Greece, an apartheid of water rights in South Africa. The fee of Thirst takes us to Chile, the 1st state to denationalise one hundred pc of its water offers, making a crushing monopoly rather than a thriving unfastened industry in water; to New Delhi, the place the sacred waters of the Ganges are being diverted to a personal water remedy plant, fomenting unrest; and to Iraq, the place the U.S.-mandated privatization of water assets destroyed through our army is extra destabilizing the unstable area. And in our personal yard, the place those related businesses are quietly paying for up water provides, Piper unearths how "water banking" is drying up California farms in desire of city sprawl and personal cities. The fabricated from seven years of research throughout six continents and a dozen international locations, and rankings of interviews with CEOs, activists, environmentalists, and weather swap experts, The cost of Thirst paints a harrowing photo of an international out of stability, with the gap among the haves and have-nots of water inexorably widening and the arriving quandary relocating ever closer.
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Extra resources for The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos
Like most multinationals, water corporations are notoriously hard to track due to acquisitions and mergers, shareholder fluctuations, and different subsidiary names from country to country. In 1989, for instance, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher privatized the British water supplier Thames Water—actually selling the water supply infrastructure (including property, plants, and equipment) on the open market. The company was then acquired first by German RWE and next by Macquarie of Australia, a global banking and investment firm.
Unfortunately, this backfired when the new employees could not locate the piping connections. 67 Nevertheless, it remains common practice for corporations to lay off utility workers after an acquisition. One might even say this is the main reason for privatization. Third, corporations can require that governments provide subsidies for poor people who cannot pay their bills. This is a policy called “transferring risk,” since many early water contracts failed due to price increases for the poor. AquaFed is now asking governments to raise rates through the “3 Ts”—taxes, tariffs, and transfers.
In South Africa, I drove through rioters and burning tires to get to the airport before it was shut down. But everywhere I went, I heard the most amazing stories from people who would sacrifice their lives and freedom to protect their water supplies. Those stories made it all worthwhile. As I traveled, I sometimes felt I was diagnosing a patient, scanning the globe for the worst injuries to its precious circulatory system—its rivers and streams. I was drawn ever forward simply by a need to understand how and why these injuries were being inflicted and what could be done to stop them.