Thursday, February 24, 2005

Water For All News

I am putting these Newsletter for All To share.

You can see & feel yourself the important of the concern the Water issues.

Do care to download PDF documents for additional info.

News from Water for All

Stockton gets a failing grade
At the City Council meeting on Dec. 7, the Concerned Citizens Coalition
of Stockton released to the public the first Annual Service Contract
Compliance Review covering the first phase of OMI-Thames 20-year, $600
million water privatization contract in Stockton, California.

The Review details changes to the contract that benefit OMI-Thames: water
rates for Stockton residents have risen two years in a row due to the
contract; customer service requirements have been unfulfilled; a number
of staffing positions are filled with temporary or interim employees;
unaccounted for water has risen from around 3.5% under municipal
operation to nearly 7.5% under private operation; maintenance tasks are
backlogged and finally, OMI made an unauthorized dump of chlorinated
water into an irrigation canal that resulted in a $125,000 fine from
the State Water Resources Control Board. Perhaps this is why the champion
of this privatization, former mayor of Stockton Gary Podesto, failed in
his bid to win a state Senate seat.

The Concerned Citizens' lawsuit challenging the privatization deal is
still pending before the state appeals court. California Attorney
General Bill Lockyer recently filed an amicus brief in support of the
Citizens claims that the City of Stockton violated the California
Environmental Quality Act by not conducting the environmental review
required by state law. For more information see

Water report from the World Social Forum
The issue of water, defending and protecting this vital natural
resource for humankind and the planet, was a key topic at the World
Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil in late January. More than
32 workshops were organized including large open sessions at the
beginning and end of the WSF where a draft global water action platform
was debated.

Public Citizen,along with many other organizations in the
inter-American water activist network (Red VIDA -Vigilancia
Interamericana para el Derecho y Desarrollo del Agua) and from Europe
organized workshops focusing on the role of the World Bank in promoting
water privatization, a speak-out on formulating a UN Treaty on water, a
special workshop to build solidarity for the struggle in El Alto,
Bolivia, a strategy session to plan for the World Water Forum in Mexico
City and much more.

There were many opportunities for networking and
learning about water struggles around the world. The Red VIDA held its
first Hemispheric Assembly prior to the WSF and developed a collective
workplan with three broad planks:

(1) challenging privatization through campaigns focused on the
transnationals, especially Suez, the international financial institutions,
and their national and localaccomplices;

(2) defending our public water systems and developing new
models of democratic water governance and management with social
responsibility and citizen oversight; and

(3) expanding our membership and building alliances with networks and
organizations across the globe. Learning about the strength and diversity
of social movements around the world made it a truly inspiring experience.

Small town residents fight Nestle Water bottling plant
Residents of McCloud, California, a small community near Mount Shasta,
have taken legal action to stop Nestle Waters North America from
building a bottled water plant in their township.

The group filed a lawsuit in March asking a Siskiyou County judge to set
aside an agreement that would allow Nestle to purchase up to 1,600
acre feet of water per year from springs that feed Squaw Valley Creek
and the McCloud River.

The group brought to the judge's attention that Nestle and the
Service District failed to file an environmental impact review before
agreeing on the contract, an extremely important report given the
potentially serious impacts the deal could have on the area's water
supply. The judge's decision on the case is expected in March or April.
The Nestle deal has spurred residents to action.

A new group, the McCloud Watershed Council, a project of the Mount
Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center (MSBEC), hopes to harness the
community's growing concern about the environmental impact of the
bottling plant and the lack of community input in the Nestle deal.
Donations earmarked for McCloud Watershed Council can be mailed to
MSBEC at PO Box 1143, 211 East Alma
St, Mount Shasta, CA 96067.

Don't Believe the Hype
On Feb. 9, Public Citizen released a new report on the largest water
company in the world, Veolia Environnement. The report focuses on the
French-owned multinational company, which operates in 84 countries and
had a 2004 net income of $2.58 billion.

Its U.S. arm is now called Veolia Water North America, formerly known
as USFilter, which operates and manages water and/or wastewater
facilities and systems in 38 states. "Despite repeated public failures in the
United States, these water companies continue to push their unwanted
vision on us,"
said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Water for
All Campaign.

"Veolia leads this industry, and it's time that the public learned more about
how this corporation operates, particularly its shoddy
environmental record. As Veolia attempts to expand its control of the world's
water resources on every continent, in nations rich and poor, citizens,
communities and countries need to understand Veolia's purpose,
practices and track record." To read the report, please go to

Also, in its Fall/Winter 2004 magazine, Veolia published a critical
piece about Public Citizen titled "PPPs vs. PC," where it defended its
practices and attempted to discredit the Water for All Campaign. (To
read the article, please go to In response,
Public Citizen issued a statement (To read the response, please go to

Read This!
There's a new book out titled Reclaiming Public Water (co-published by
Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory), available
Written by public water utility managers, trade unionists and civil society activists
from more than 20 countries, Reclaiming Public Water gives examples from
around the world of how urban public water delivery can be improved
through democratic reforms, such as citizens' participation. It also
draws on the experiences of anti-privatization coalitions and their
visions on making public water work.

For more information, see

"Reality Tour" in Bolivia
Global Exchange, an international human rights organization, is
sponsoring a reality tour in Bolivia this month, part of a program that
was created to help people understand first-hand contemporary
political, economic, environmental, and cultural issues around the world.

The Bolivian people have been protesting privatization since they succeeded
in keeping their public water rights in 2000. But President Carlos
Mesa has been working to open up the country for international investment,
so grassroots organizations are uniting to protest the sale of their
country to multinational corporations.

Global Exchange's tour will explore Bolivia's fight to stop privatization, along
with other issues igniting the people's zeal including the drug war, with increasing
conflict over the coca trade, and workers' rights. While it's too late
to sign up for the February tour, Global Exchange is already planning
for a similar tour June 18-27, 2005.

For more information, please go to or
call (800) 497-1994 ext.226.

Plan an event in your community to celebrate World Water Day.
For ideas, visit our webpage from last year's events:
Or, call the Water for All Campaign at (202) 454-5178.

Juliette Beck
California Campaign Director
Water for All
Public Citizen
510-663-0888 ext. 101
SBC Yahoo! Mail -

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