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March 14th, 2012

Two Pictures of the World Water Forum Are Worth A Thousand Words

 VIPs vs. Everyone ElseBy Darcey Rakestraw

We’ve said that the World Water Forum is a corporate trade show masquerading as a multilateral forum. Others have pointed out that the high fee for full access to the conference (up to 700 euros) is prohibiting participation by the grassroots. Still others have reported that security is high, and activists are being profiled and arrested.

Now, we’re wondering if the organizers have fully thought out the logistics of welcoming guests.

The forum has two very different entrances, depending on whether you are a VIP or not. The first entrance is a nice, welcoming one, and yesterday we surmised that it was the general entrance to the conference. But the man standing in front of the barricade shooed us away because we didn’t have the proper credentials. The photo of the second entrance, taken today by a colleague, is a shabby side door. This is where they gained access to the conference today.

If the World Water Forum wants to maintain even the veneer of inclusivity, they might want to ditch the separate-but-not-so-equal approach to conference attendees each day as they enter.

2 Comments on Two Pictures of the World Water Forum Are Worth A Thousand Words

  1. Bo The "Rhino" Orr says:

    I am so thankful for your organization. Because of your organization I no longer feel completely like a lone voice calling out in the desert. You see I have been trying to get folks to take the issue of good clean water availability for everyone seriously for aabout the last 30 years, ever since I was a water softener salesman in the 80′s and did simple precipitation tests in folks homes. I saw just how foul people’s water supplies were even then. and of course the situation has become much more dire now.
    So this is a subject that I have thought long and hard about for many years. I have come to the conclusion that createing desalionized water from the oceans and using it to supplement the existing fresh water supplies to make it possible to produce all the crops we need for fuel production and for food production is the absolute best solution to the water availability, local food production, renewable fuel source and some other problems. I am bringing this up because In my mind it also the best way to combat the takeover of local water supplies by removing the leverage the will need to starve us and squeeze us for every last drop of life we have in our bodies. There are so many advantages of doing this that there is not enough space to list them here.
    But very important point that I hope to make everyone realize is that desalinized water is not something that would cost our government to build and maintain it is something that would be a source of residual income from now on while providing clean abundant, cheap, and guaranteeably safe water to the public which would then spur on all kinds of economic activity that would then create more tax revenue for our cash strapped government. Trust me given the choice between our government having control of our water supply and corporations having control of it, I would much arther have the government in charge of it. So come on lets start a movement to get desalinized water going throughout the southwest United States and throughout the world. This could turn many small plots of private land into food and fuel crop production centers. This is the best way to pull the rug out from under their feet.
    Sincerely;
    Bo Orr

  2. Bo, thank you for the kind words. We too believe that water should be plentiful, safe and affordable. Unfortunately, we may agree to disagree when it comes to desalination, which is a technology that Food & Water Watch cannot support. Research shows that desalination is very polluting, that it uses vast amounts of energy that contributes to global warming, that it negatively affects marine life and that it can be very costly. Because many desalination facilities are built and operated by private companies, the process also encourages the privatization of water resources that we believe would be better managed by a public entity. Of course, there are some situations in which desalination is the only option for delivering water, but we believe the process should only be used as a last resort. We issued a report on the process not very long ago. You can read it here if you want more reasons why we don’t recommend desalination: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/desalination-an-ocean-of-problems/.
    Darcey Rakestraw, Food & Water Watch

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