This month’s bulletin is all about water, in honour of World Water Day. On March 22, water activists around the world celebrate their victories and renew their struggle to ensure public water services for all. This year, CUPE joined allies at home and around the world with the message that public water is a right for all. Read CUPE’s World Water Day statement here. And check out CUPE’s web water resources at cupe.ca/water/.
Across Canada, CUPE members joined activists from the Council of Canadians and KAIROS in water walks, film screenings, panel discussions and other actions – all aimed at pressing for federal action to protect public water and recognize the right to water.
Activists were also out in full force around the world. In India, activists protested privatization and appropriation of water resources (by large dams, Coke and Pepsi bottling plants, and other unsustainable forms of development). More than 60 protesters delivering this message were arrested in New Delhi, sparking international calls for their release.
Tanzanian water activists pushed for safe, clean water that’s available to all. Fully 42 per cent of the country’s 35 million residents have no access to clean water. They also called for public – not private – solutions, pointing to the City of Dar es Salaam, where a British privatized water project run by Biwater failed. Now the public company Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Corporation (DAWASCO) is performing better than Biwater, improving infrastructure and services.
In the USA, the target was President George Bush, whose administration is pushing water privatization. The US Environmental Protection Agency recently hosted a conference pushing privatization in Atlanta, where water privatization was a spectacular flop.