Monday, August 26, 2013

Water privatization by the richest rich is happening now ("hydraulic empire") incl. the Bush family

"A Citigroup economist gushed, 'Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.'"

Will New Federal Law Facilitate Privatization of U.S. Water?

“'This law will facilitate the privatization of water systems and prioritize funding for privatized systems,' Mary Grant, a researcher for the water program at Food & Water Watch, a watchdog group here, told MintPress News."

She was right:

Big Players Promote Water Privatization

"But, even before the ink from President Obama's signing pen had touched the bill, the finance and private water industries were reenacting their own version of the pivotal moment in Oliver Twist - when the starving orphan Oliver holds out his empty bowl and says, 'Please, sir, I want some more.'"

White House enlists private sector for $4bn upgrade to water infrastructure


Nestle are the 27th largest corporation in the world and the largest "foodstuff" interest. Here is video, beginning at about 1:58, of Nestle's then (2005) CEO clearly stating that water is not a human right, that it should be owned and sold.

Nestle are getting contracts in countries around the world to suck up pure lakes for free, bottling and selling it for $2 or so.

Conflict of interest claims persist in Maine’s Nestle water case

"As Maine’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) considers a final decision on a 25-year water contract between the Fryeburg Water Co. and Nestle (owners of Poland Spring), critics and proponents of the controversial project are questioning the approval process, citing concerns that PUC members have ties to Nestle.

'Everybody in the PUC has significant relationships with Nestle,' said Bruce Taylor, a Fryeburg taxpayer and one of the case’s intervenors. 'This is a clear conflict of interest.'”

8 Ways Privatization Has Brought Pain and Misery to American Life

"A Citigroup economist gushed, 'Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.'"

Profiting from Your Thirst as Global Elite Rush to Control Water Worldwide


Citigroup is aggressively raising funds for its war chest to participate in the coming tidal wave of infrastructure privatization: in 2007 it established a new unit called Citi Infrastructure Investors through its Citi Alternative Investments unit. According to Reuters, Citigroup “assembled some of the biggest names in the infrastructure business at the same time it is building a $3 billion fund, including $500 million of its own capital. The fund, according to a person familiar with the situation, will have only a handful of outside investors and will be focused on assets in developed markets” (May 16, 2007). Citigroup initially sought only U.S.$3 billion for its first infrastructure fund but was seeking U.S.$5 billion in April 2008 (Bloomberg, April 7, 2008).

Citigroup partnered with HSBC Bank, Prudential, and other minor partners to acquire U.K.’s water utility Kelda (Yorkshire Water) in November 2007. This week, Citigroup signed a 99-year lease with the City of Chicago for Chicago’s Midway Airport (it partnered with John Hancock Life Insurance Company and a Canadian private airport operator). Insiders said that Citigroup is among those bidding for the state-owned company Letiste Praha which operates the Prague Airport in the Czech Republic (Bloomberg, February 7, 2008).

The elite multinational and Wall Street banks and investment banks have been preparing and waiting for this golden moment for years. Over the past few years, they have amassed war chests of infrastructure funds to privatize water, municipal services, and utilities all over the world. It will be extremely difficult to reverse this privatization trend in water. (Emphasis mine)


The lands purchased by the Bush family sit over not only South America’s largest aquifer — but the world’s as well — Acuifero Guaraní, which runs beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This aquifer is larger than Texas and California combined.

(So check that again...the Bush family own the world's largest aquifer. Think they're harmless when not in government?)

History: Bechtel takeover of the Bolivian water supply


"Bechtel owns and operates power plants, oil refineries, water systems, and airports in several countries including the United States, Turkey, and the United Kingdom."

"Like most large American companies, Bechtel and its employees have contributed large amounts of money to United States politicians (over a million dollars in campaign contributions between 1999 and 2002)."

"Following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush awarded the first Iraq reconstruction contract to Bechtel through USAID, on April 20, 2003. This contract was worth an estimated $680 million.[20][21] It is alleged that some of the construction projects managed by Bechtel were either poorly implemented, failing within months of their installation, or designed in such a way that Iraqi engineers did not have the knowledge or components to fix Bechtel's proprietary technology.[22][23]

On May 5, 2003, The New Yorker ran an article revealing that the bin Laden family had passively invested several million dollars in The Fremont Group, a private equity fund owned by the Bechtel family."

Bill C-45 removes 99% of Canada's lakes and rivers from the protected list

Greeks Stand Up to Protect Their Water From Privatization:

Nestle Group -"Access to Water Is Not Your Right"

World Bank wants water privatized, despite risks

Enron, an enormous supporter and contributor to George W. Bush, were early adopters of the hydraulic empire:

Azurix Corp. is a water services company, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company owned and operated facilities in North America (mainly Canada), Europe, and South America. In 2007, Azurix was awarded a $165 million claim against the government of Argentina by an international arbitrator, the company is currently involved in a dispute over Argentina's refusal to pay the claim.

Azurix was formed when Enron Corporation purchased Wessex Water in 1998. In June 1999 it was part-floated on the NYSE stock exchange, with Enron retaining 34% ownership. The company was formed with an IPO of $800 million and an opening stock price of $22.00, which fell to $2.00 within two years. The business was a disaster for Enron, and in April 2001 Enron announced it would break up Azurix and sell its assets. Enron eventually sold Azurix North America and Azurix Industrial Operations to American Water Works for $141.5 million.

(Enron also met with Arnold Schwarzenegger before they intentionally caused the rolling power blackouts in California which inconvenienced Californians to the point of demanding a run-off election to replace the Governor...and Arnold “won”. Note that the same energy embargo tactic was used on Jimmy Carter by OPEC, who are Bush family friends. The same Bush who was head of the CIA and now is buying up water.)

Food Security in the Age of “Water Grabbing”

Indigenous Campesinos Fighting Water Privatization in Ecuador 

Note Citigroup's involvement. Read their thoughts and words in their own frank language in the three leaked "Plutonomy" memos.

Read the three leaked Citigroup Plutonomy memos, “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances”, “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer”, and "The Plutonomy Symposium: Rising Tides Lifting Yachts" :

And this article only touches upon the water grab. Privatization of vital resources is ongoing world-wide. Saudis (Bush friends) seek to divest. Note that in the third memo, globalization is mentioned as a prime driver of Plutonomy.

Edit Aug. 15:

Texas town runs out of water after using it for fracking

"The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes," she said, blinking back tears. "I went: 'Dear God, help us.' That was the first thought that came to mind."


So what is a town like Barnhart to do? Fracking is a powerful drain on water supplies. In adjacent Crockett County, fracking accounts for up to 25 percent of water use, according to the groundwater conservation district. But Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, argues fracking is not the only reason Texas is going dry—and nor is the drought. The latest shocks to the water system come after decades of overuse by ranchers, cotton farmers, and fast-growing, thirsty cities.

"We have large urban centers sucking water out of West Texas to put on their lands. We have a huge agricultural community, and now we have fracking which is also using water," she said. And then there is climate change.

West Texas has a long history of recurring drought, but under climate change, the Southwest has been experiencing record-breaking heat waves, further drying out the soil and speeding the evaporation of water in lakes and reservoirs. Underground aquifers failed to regenerate. "What happens is that climate change comes on top and in many cases it can be the final straw that breaks the camel's back, but the camel is already overloaded," said Hayhoe.

(More at the link.)

Fighting the austerity program behind Detroit water shutoffs

"...there was no mention of the thousands of water shutoffs carried out under the auspices of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) by a private corporation hired by the unelected emergency manager.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder, has said very little about the mass terminations of water service to residents. However, a June 26 Detroit Free Press editorial made clear: '[Orr’s spokesperson] Bill Nowling said the shutoff policy is a necessary part of Detroit’s restructuring.' "

Water struggles: the battle for basic utilities is on and we have a lot to learn

Yesterday, in Dublin, thousands of people took to the streets, as they have done several times over the last couple of months.  Why? In the words of what has become a viral youtube hit, “No Water Privitisation! Irish Water’s Not for Sale!”
How and why have struggles relating to water access — and basic utilities including energy — become so key in 2014?

The ‘Wild West’ of groundwater: Billion-dollar Nestlé extracting B.C.’s drinking water for free 

Nestle are apparently already doing this around the world!

Here are some recent business actions on their part:

2001: Acquisition by Perrier Vittel of Al Manhal, the leading bottled water company in Saudi Arabia which becomes the leading bottled water player in the Middle East region

2002: Perrier Vittel becomes Nestlé Waters

2005: Nestlé Waters further develops its business on the African continent via the launch of Nestlé Pure Life in Nigeria and the creation of a partnership in Algeria

2006: Nestlé Waters acquires the majority shares in Erikli and becomes the Turkish market leader.

2007: Nestlé Waters acquires Sources Minérales Henniez S.A. and becomes the Swiss leader in the bottled water market. Joint venture agreements signed in Mexico and Chile.

2008: Nestlé Pure Life, has become in just a decade the world's leading bottled water brand, with 5 billion litres sold worldwide.

2009: Nestlé Waters strengthens its presence in two key emerging countries: in Brazil by acquiring Àguas de Santa Barbara in the São Paulo region; and in China by acquiring Dashan Drinks, the leading bottled water player in Yunnan Province