(Cairns... Far North Queensland)
the driest inhabited continent in the world, with annual rainfall averaging only
455 mm (although averages are poor indicators since rainfall is extremely
variable in time and place).
evaporation and transpiration rates result in runoff of just 11% and groundwater
recharge of 1% of average rainfall. Although Australia represents about 5% of
the world's land area, it has only 1% of the global river runoff.
overall population density is very low, so water resources per person are quite
sufficient and the population is concentrated along the southeast coastline,
where rainfall and runoff are generally plentiful.
Australia’s rainfall variability makes water resource management difficult.
Typically, dams to provide reliable yields have to be double the equivalent for
world average climatic conditions, and six times the capacity of European dams.
WATER is a
public trust; WATER is God given and belongs to ALL species on the planet Earth.
No one must have the right to appropriate it or profit from it at the expense of
the Australian people.
YET, that is
what the multinationals and merchant bank investors want to do.
They see OUR
freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers as a rich reservoir to plunder. WE must
head off the gradual corporatisation and subsequent privatisation of OUR
priceless and public asset… WATER.
satirical version of the 'Golden Rule' motto: ‘He who has the gold, makes
case, 'He who has the WATER makes the rules, and rules your life…'
That is of
course, unless you've discovered a way to get along without water!
landowners do not take positive action, then the government WILL continue to
impose REGULATIONS or TAXES… or BOTH.
WATER is a
basic human RIGHT, not a government commodity that we must purchase in order to
inadequacies and inequality of the Queensland Water Act 2000 needs no
explanations from anybody.
and financial burden placed on primary producers and consumers is self-evident
by the following extract from the Water Act 2000...
Part 2 Water Rights - Division 1 - Preliminary
Section 19 - Rights in all water vests in State
rights to the use, flow and control of all water in Queensland are vested in the
'…All rights to the use, flow and control of all water in Queensland are
vested in the people of the State', ALL Queenslanders, including primary
producers, will continue to be told and controlled by politicians, and unelected
bureaucrats, as to the amount and cost of WATER they are permitted to use!
running out of water… hell NO!
are running out of storage infrastructures to supply water... as a direct result
of belligerent and recalcitrant Governments NOT using OUR taxes to build dams
and other storage facilities to benefit Queensland!
For years now, Monsanto has been buying up seed, plant and biotech companies in order to establish control over the world's food.
According to Mr Robert
Farley of Monsanto, "… what you are seeing is not just a consolidation of
seed companies, it's really a consolidation of the entire food chain. Since WATER is as central to food production as seed is, and without water
life is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over
water. During 1999, Monsanto launched a new water business, starting with India
and Mexico, since both these countries are facing water shortages."
In other words, the crisis of pollution and depletion of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity, "The business logic of sustainable development is that population growth and economic development will apply increasing pressure on the natural resource markets... These are the markets that are most relevant to us as a life sciences company committed to delivering food, health and hope to the world, and there are markets in which there are predictable sustainability challenges and therefore opportunities to create business value."
By 2010 about 2.5 billion people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking water. At least 30 per cent of the population in China, India, Mexico and the U.S. is expected to face severe water stress. Controls over this scarce and vital resource will, of course, be a source of guaranteed profits.
As John Bastin of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has said, "Water is the last infrastructure frontier for private investors."
Monsanto estimates that providing safe water is a multi-billion dollar market.
The Indian Government spent over $1.2 billion between 1992 and 1997 for various water projects, while the World Bank spent $900 million.
Monsanto would like to divert this public money from public supply of water to establishing the company's water monopoly.
Another new business that Monsanto started in 1999 was aquaculture in Asia. It will build on the foundation of Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology and capabilities for fish feed and fish breeding.
By 2008, Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6 billion and a net income of $226 million from its aquaculture business. While the corporation's entry into aquaculture is through its 'sustainable development' activity, industrial aquaculture has been established to be highly non-sustainable.
It comes as no surprise that attempts are being made by the World Bank to privatise water resources and establish trade in water rights.
These trends will suit
Monsanto well in establishing its water and aquaculture businesses.
World Bank has already offered to help.
As the Monsanto strategy paper states, "We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential of partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to joint venture project in developing markets. The IFC is eager to work with Monsanto to commercialise sustainability opportunities and would bring both investment capital and on the ground capabilities to our efforts."
Monsanto's water and aquaculture businesses, like its seed business, aim at controlling the vital resources necessary for survival, converting them into a market and using public finances to underwrite the investments.
Water is, however, too basic for life and survival, and the right to it, is the right to life.
A more efficient conversion of public assets into private profit would be difficult to find.
BACK TO: WATER MAIN INDEX
Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870