Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Water

To All:
Remember the documentary film “Thirst”? Did you know that the producers have now published a book? “Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water” from Wiley imprint Jossey-Bass.

Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water,”
Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman

Is water a human right, or a commodity to be bought, sold, and traded in the global marketplace? Will it become the oil of the 21st century? A source of profit for those in control, and a commodity available only to those who can afford to pay?

Out of sight of most Americans, global corporations like Nestle, Suez, and Veolia are rapidly buying up our local water sources –lakes, streams, and springs– and taking control of public water services. In their drive to privatize and commodify water, they manipulate and buy politicians, clinch back room deals, and subvert the democratic process by denying citizens a voice in fundamental decisions about their most essential public resource.

The citizen response has stunned some of the world’s largest companies. It’s an apple pie, grassroots rebellion that crosses conventional political lines. Democrats, Republicans, radicals, evangelicals converge to defend their water and their democracy from government complicity in corporate globalization. It’s a hometown resistance with global reach, and it is the template for a future movement to take back democratic control of public space, resources, and institutions from corporate oligarchies.

THIRST investigates eight recent high-profile controversies over the corporate takeover of water (and wastewater treatment) in the U.S, and illuminates how citizens are fighting back in heartland communities like Stockton, CA, Lexington, KY, Holyoke, MA, and Mecosta County, MI. Political corruption, high stakes financial takeovers, and behind the scenes maneuvering by some of the richest corporations characterize a David and Goliath battle in which local citizens muster creative and often surprising organizing methods to preserve their right to local, public control of this precious resource.

The PBS documentary Thirst showed how communities around the world are resisting the privatization and commodification of water. Now THIRST, the book, picks up where the documentary left off, revealing the emergence of controversial new water wars here in the United States.
THIRST exposes the corporate attempts to:
• Take over municipal control of water in communities around the country
• Buy up rights to groundwater in the US
• Create and corner the market on bottled water

It also shows how people in affected communities are fighting back to keep water affordable, accessible, sustainable and public:
• By creating new methods to challenge the corporate juggernaut in an age of globalization
• By challenging tired clichés of Republican and Democratic political alignments

We are at the tipping point in the new, global water wars. The United States is ground zero. What happens in the next few years will determine the fate of water and our basic democratic rights. THIRST is a battlefield account of the conflict.