Drinking Water: A Scarce Resource

Drinking Water: A Scarce Resource

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By Elsa Bruzzone

The consumption of water in the world is enormously inequitable. However, in Somalia they survive on less than 9 liters.

Of the total volume of world water, only 3% is fresh and only half is drinkable. Drinking water must not contain organic matter, pathogens or chemicals. In Argentina, most of the water consumed comes from the places where sewage and industrial waste are disposed of. Long exceeding the figures for heavy materials, bacteria, nitrates and hydrocarbons considered dangerous.

The consumption of water in the world is enormously inequitable. However, in Somalia they survive on less than 9 liters.

Of the total volume of world water, only 3% is fresh and only half is drinkable. Long exceeding the figures for heavy materials, bacteria, nitrates and hydrocarbons considered dangerous.

The rivers of La Plata, Carcaraña, Paraná, Salado del Norte, Salado del Sur and Colorado are among the most polluted in the world. Lake San Roque, which supplies water to the city of Córdoba, has eutrophication problems. This means that the waters are rich in nutrients, having in excess, plants and other organisms grow that when they die they rot and decrease the quality of the water.

In the province of Buenos Aires, in the Riachuelo-Matanza basin, only 45% of the inhabitants have sewers. And only 65% ​​have potable water. Around 3,000 companies dump their toxic solid or liquid waste daily. 30% of the pollution is contributed by the pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical industries. The industry of alcoholic beverages and tanneries 3%, this added to the sewage tributaries. This basin receives 368,000 cubic meters of industrial waste daily, which represents twice the average minimum flow of the river.

The mud from the Riachuelo has large concentrations of chromium, copper, mercury, zinc and lead. Finding the highest concentrations in Avellaneda and Lanús. In the Beriso-Ensenada area, the waters and sediments are full of benzene, naphthalene, anthracene, toluene residues that are produced by the distilleries and petrochemical industries.

The Puelche aquifer has varying degrees of contamination with nitrates and coliform bacteria. The concentration of nitrate and toluene is three times higher than the allowed limits. The Puelche extends from the middle of the province of Santa Fé, east of Córdoba and NE of Buenos Aires to the Bay of Samborombón. Towards Córdoba it becomes salty and towards Paraná it is sweet. (Waters that cry for humans-Cristian Frers)

It is estimated that 60% of the contamination of the Reconquista River is due to the waters it receives from the Arroyo Morón, into which a large number of industries drain. Presenting lack of oxygen and excess organic matter with high levels of chromium and nitrogen.

The inhabitants of Villaguay in Entre Ríos are suffering the consequences of the use of endolsulfan. This substance is used by the large genetically modified soya producers to combat green bugs and lizards. "There are several children who have bathed in neighboring ponds and streams, their skin all damaged, as if fungus had caught them. There are fish dead in many streams and lagoons "(source Red de Acción in pesticides and their alternatives for Latin America)

"After complicit silences and willful abandonments, the" waters "of the Riachuelo continue to fall, black and macabrely polluted. The only thing that enjoys good health is oblivion. Any river is a source of life, but the one that concerns us is synonymous with death, today it silently induces twice as many deaths in children from the districts of the basin in the Province of Buenos Aires, and in the neighborhoods of La Boca, Barracas and Villa Lugano in the Federal Capital, with respect to the average for the entire City of Buenos Aires. " (Neighbors Association of La Boca)

In Neuquen, more precisely in San Martín de los Andes, the Mapuche communities Vera, Curruhuinca and Cayún carried out several roadblocks in 2002. The reason for these protests originated in the negligence of the Cerro Chapelco concessionaire. That it dumped sewage effluents into the streams that supplied water to the communities.

The Ecological and Environmental Health Chamber formulates opposition to the granting, by Hidráulica, of the water concession for the mining undertaking "Veladero" in the province of San Juan, by Minera Argentina Gold S.A. "Our water and our reserves are inalienable of the provincial patrimony. It is our duty to save and conserve it ...", holding the Hydraulic officials responsible, "who must know and be aware that our reserves, glaciers, rivers, meadows and other sources have a much greater value than the actual deposit to be exploited. "

The world of privatized water is mainly dominated by two multinational companies of French origin: Suez (previously Suez Lyonaisse des Eaux), with profits associated with water that amounted to US $ 9,000 million in 2001, and Vivendi Universal, with profits in the same item and the same period that amounted to US $ 12,200 million. Both companies are among the 100 largest in the world, according to the Global Fortune 500, and together they own or control water companies in more than 100 countries of the world, which supply water to more than 100 million people around the world.

Argentina was a pioneer in the privatization of water and sanitation services. At the time, Obras Sanitarias de la Nación (OSN) was the largest concession in the world, because it covered Buenos Aires, 14 neighboring districts and 9.3 million inhabitants, according to a report by Andrea Catenazzi, of the National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS).

The conditions of the tender established that the winning consortium - which would obtain the concession for 30 years - did not have to make capital contributions, but rather offer a percentage of reduction in the rates in force at the time of privatization, assume the commitment not to increase them for 10 years and improve services. But, paradoxically, the government ordered a 74% rate increase before the transfer, so that the concession would be more attractive to investors.

The winning consortium was led by the French Suez Lyonnaise (25.3 percent), Sociedad Comercial del Plata (from the Argentine group Soldati, 20.7 percent), Sociedad de Aguas de Barcelona (12.6 percent), the Argentina firm Meller (10.8 percent), Banco de Galicia and Buenos Aires (8.1 percent), Compagnie Generale des Aux (8 percent) and Anglia Water (4.5 percent). These companies never complied with the terms of the concession. While companies fill their pockets, we consume water of dubious potability and in many places homes are flooded by rising water tables. .

When Aguas de Tunari, a joint venture between the US company Bechtel and the Italian company Edison, was established in Bolivia, the government promised that water costs would not increase by more than 10% due to privatization. People were furious when they encountered hikes of up to 300% in water rates. Academics, environmentalists, urban workers and farmers came together to form the Coordinator for the Defense of Water and Life. That was the awakening. The people were ready to defend their rights, and days of action began in early 2000. Simultaneous mobilizations were carried out in the countryside and the city, blocking the roads for several days. The final mobilization in April 2000 brought together more than 100,000 people in downtown Cochabamba.

The Guaraní Aquifer system is one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world. This reservoir is shared by the member countries of MERCOSUR: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The United States structured a system to detect the magnitude of the Guaraní Aquifer, ensure its use in a "sustainable" manner and avoid all types of contamination. To do this, he put the World Bank, the Organization of American States, German and Dutch bodies that it controls, and some university elements from the countries involved in charge of the investigation. Allocating a budget of 26 million 760 thousand dollars.

"Other elements have become of strategic value for the near future. The importance that has been given to drinking water has been very significant in recent times, as a scarce resource for the coming years and which will be fundamental for humanity. control, control the world economy and life in the not-so-distant future. "

Elsa bruzzone

Video: WATER our most precious resource (July 2022).


  1. J?n

    Well, it started

  2. Voodoojas

    What words... super, an excellent idea

  3. Yole

    Bravo, great thought

  4. Amun

    very valuable message

  5. Magan

    It is a pity, that now I can not express - it is very occupied. I will be released - I will necessarily express the opinion.

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