This is a very important book. The fight for water justice in Plachimada caught the attention of the world and put the water rights struggle of the local people on the front burner. It also highlighted the growing tension between those who see water as a public trust and a human right and those who see it as a market commodity to be put on the open market to the highest bidder.
The world is running out of clean water. Humanity is polluting, diverting, and depleting the earth's finite water resources at a dangerous and steadily increasing rate. The abuse and displacement of water is the ground level equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions, and likely as great a cause of climate change. As a result, every day more people are living without clean water. As the ecological crisis deepens, so too does the human crisis. More children are killed by dirty water than by war, malaria, HIV/AIDS and traffic accidents together. The global water crisis has become the greatest symbol of the growing inequality in our world.
Tragically, a powerful corporate water cartel has emerged to take control of every aspect of water for its own profit. Corporations deliver drinking water and take away wastewater; corporations put massive amounts of water in plastic and sell it back to us as exorbitant prices; corporations are building sophisticated new technologies to recycle our dirty water and sell that back to us at exorbitant prices; corporations move water by massive pipelines from watersheds and aquifers to sell it to big cities and industries; and corporations buy, store and trade water on the open market like running shoes. Most importantly, corporations want governments to deregulate the water sector and allow the market to set water policy. Every day, they get closer to that goal.
It is my sincere hope that this important book will help build a movement to stop the corporate takeover of precious water supplies in India and everywhere. We have much to thank the brave people of Plachimada for. Let us hope their struggle and this book lead to true equality and water for all.
Senior UN Advisor on Water