The Great Water Grab: Wall Street is buying up the world’s water
Wall Street banks like Citigroup and multibillionaires are buying up water sources all over the world at unprecedented pace. Simultaneously, governments are moving fast to limit citizens’ ability to become water self-sufficient. Media propaganda is actively trying to suppress information and access to atmospheric water collectors that could cheaply solve the worlds water problems! A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new “water barons” — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.
Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water. Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, Philippines’ Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.
The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens’ ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington’s case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). Let’s put this criminalization in perspective:
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens owned more water rights than any other individuals in America, with rights over enough of the Ogallala Aquifer to drain approximately 200,000 acre-feet (or 65 billion gallons of water) a year. But ordinary citizen Gary Harrington cannot collect rainwater runoff on 170 acres of his private land. It’s a strange New World Order in which multibillionaires and elitist banks can own aquifers and lakes, but ordinary citizens cannot even collect rainwater and snow runoff in their own backyards and private lands.
“Water is the oil of the 21st century... Currently 12 European and 10 African nations are building infrastructure for 21st century water collection ” Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company (quoted in The Economist magazine) Food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab. An Observer investigation revealed that rich countries faced by a global food shortages are desperate to get a foothold into African farming notably the food basket of the world!
The volume of groundwater that's held in African aquifers is estimated to be 0.66 million km³. This is more than 100 times the annual renewable freshwater resources stored in dams and rivers, and 20 times the freshwater stored in Africa's lakes. The size and shape of an aquifer is based on the body of rock beneath the Earth’s surface. Some can be in the form of caves and hold water on a large scale. Some can range from a few meters thick to hundreds of meters with multiple layers. Aquifers can also extend for many kilometers or be localised in certain areas.
Water gets into these aquifers in different ways. Some are filled by new rainfall, others hold old, or ancient, rainfall. In Africa, most are found less than 50 meters below the ground’s surface.
Many of Africa’s aquifers are spread across country borders, meaning countries have to share the water resource. The largest volumes of groundwater in Africa are found in large aquifers in Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan. There are various ways to tap into aquifers, including hand-dug wells, drilled wells and boreholes, and natural springs. Tapping into the groundwater Some countries have already taken steps to tap into aquifers.
South Africa has two massive aquifers. The largest stretches from Cape Town to Gqeberha, a city 750km away. This geological formation covers a surface area of 37,000km² and ranges in thickness from 900 meters to 4,000 meters. The other big one is the Cape Flats aquifer. It is estimated that by 2036, almost R5 billion (about US $274 million) will have been invested to tap these aquifers. They will yield about half of the amount of water in the Berg River dam, which provides almost 25% of the City of Cape Town’s supply.
Another large aquifer on the continent, containing only ancient trapped water, is the Nubian Sandstone in North Africa. It covers about 2 million km, and spans Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Chad. It contains more than 150,000km of groundwater – more water than the Nile River discharges in 500 years. The countries it spans are tapping into the aquifer and have agreed on its fair use. Water is a U.S.$425 billion industry, and a calamitous water shortage is a more serious threat to humanity in the 21st century than food and energy shortages and although the us has the largest water supply in the world a significant portion of it has been contaminated and polluted by the same companies that caused global warming in the first place!
Modern agriculture contributes to river pollution through the excess use of pesticides, fertilizers, and improper management of animal waste. The pollutants run off fields into nearby rivers, damaging aquatic life and detrimentally impacting drinking water supplies. chemical companies like Dow, make products that cause nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, and is the leading type of contamination in these freshwater sources.
Some may ask what role does fossil fuels play in this? Specifically, a lucrative opportunity in water is in hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), as it generates massive demand for water and water services. Each oil well developed requires 3 to 5 million gallons of water, and 90% of this water cannot be reused because it’s three to 10 times saltier than seawater and many times flammable to boot. Citigroup recommends water-rights owners sell water to fracking companies instead of to farmers because water for fracking can be sold for as much as $3,000 per acre-foot instead of only $50 per acre/foot to farmers. The sad part is this doesn't lower fuel costs but it does affect our access to healthy and affordable foods and once the small farmer is gone and we rely on corporations to feed us will anyplace on the planet truly be free?