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Who Owns America's Water?


Who Owns America's Water?

Gina Benevento

Yes, water is a human right, fundamental to life - yet if you are an average American, you would be lucky to have access to it, at a price you can afford to pay and not be poisoned.

Just ask the residents of Flint, Michigan - a low income community forced for years to use expensive bottled water for everything from cooking to showers - they believe their tap water is good for one thing, and one thing only: To flush the toilet.

"In contrast to citizens, global corporations possess seemingly limitless access to clean water."


Avarice will always exploit issues of too little water and/or water of poor quality. Always. Water is the penultimate profit maker (behind war), as it is essential to life and desperation is a great upward stressor for pricing. The libertarian wet dream (pardon the pun) is to make all the serfs beg for water (and food, shelter & health care) in order to create a work force with such fealty to them that the workers literally will enslave themselves. Pretty ironic that liberty is the root of their descriptor, no? No. It is despicable and Orwellian as hell. Libertarianism means liberty for capital at the cost (externalized, of course) of a shackled work force.


My hope is that the author’s choice of title “Who owns America’s Water” is intended to be provocative.
Regardless, I will take it as such. It could be edifying to approach it as a Koan.

It seems to me that Mother Earth, though not “owning” water is the exquisite, unparalleled super-steward of this life force.

Companies like Nestle are the 21st century walking dead dealing out epidemics of death by a billion cuts.

Administrations like those of Detroit are FINALLY being recognized as criminal?. Emergency managers? Place all who advance and or practice such notions in a private prison under permanent, sequestered emergency management of their own documented design and require weekly reports so that all of us can see whether they are capable of reform. If not, throw away the damn key and let their “for profit” designs take their pound of flesh from their own asses.

NOW, full compensation for those subjected to the criminal acts - which should include full funding to those communities impacted, for them to create communities that DO WORK and FUNCTION. Billion $ corporations like Nestle need to be made to provide the compensation and if need be, forced into bankruptcy and their poisonous legacy the subject of study in all American schools. .


The story of water in the US is the quintessential American story of wealth, class, race and privatisation of national resources running roughshod over human rights and equality. It is a story largely hidden from the American public_.

As a non-U.S. citizen, Ms. Benevento can be excused for suggesting that the story “is largely hidden from the American public.”

But…Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was not hidden. Thousands of EPA reports on water quality were not hidden (even as thousands more were). Fracking is not hidden. The fires on Lake Erie were not hidden. The many oil spills and Gulf rigs blowing up and gushing crude into dead zones are not hidden. Love Canal was not hidden.

Piles of dead fish and pond stench is not hidden. The stench and poison of corporate farms are not hidden. Chemical lawn poisons are not hidden. Nuclear plants lining the Great Lakes and other great bodies of water are not hidden.

Water is life. Nobody “owns” it. Capitalists control it. Poison it. Destroy it. As long as they are able/allowed to do that, “life” as we know it diminishes.

The only thing that remains hidden is for a critical mass of the U.S. public to look at and change the reality of the political economy of capitalism. Good Luck on that one.


Concurrent with Enron manipulating electrical power production and distribution markets shortly before it crashed I read an article in the Wall Street Journal describing Enron’s next big venture into controlling water sources and manipulating water markets in the US and abroad.

Although Enron did not survive long enough to pull it off, the Enron players preparing the plot scattered in all directions and have been working toward control and manipulation of water sources and markets from many fronts.

Expect Trump and the GOP Congress to escalate water theft in the US and abroad.


Who Owns America’s Water?

Not you or me…


Who owns the water is a valuable question, as well as who controls it, and for what purpose. In my view, government organizations, whether local, state or national, should be involved in overseeing the commercial uses of water.

I find that the article should also have addressed a more fundamental point: mitigating the dangerous lead from the water distributed to homes. To argue that 4 years on, the best approach is to provide bottled water, it to just make the bad situation worse. While primary mitigation through replacement of lead pipes is being pursued, why is there not a program to ensure each home has adequate water filtering in place to remove the lead? Or if the lead levels are so high that filtering at the homes is impractical, then a central but local facility to provide lead-safe water seems much more useful than relying on bottled water.

Raise the call for justice about getting clean, safe water to the citizens of Flint and other cities with lead-compromised water. Don’t perpetuate the exploitative use of water through bottling it through commercial operations for distribution.


For arguments sake it may be better to use the SLAVE language. And this is why schools are such a failure----people need to understand that we are the owners/not slaves–or as you correctly state protectors or stewards of water,air,land ,all natural resources.


It’s not Trump. He’s a pissant functionary. It’s the capitalist “market” (do what they have the power to do) system. As the article points out, the Swiss-based global monopoly corp Nestle is the most powerful in the water “market.” Another target for the plutocrat and oligarch Bezos in his race to “own” everything before they ship his frozen corpse off to space to regenerate at one of “his” space colonies because he and his kind will have killed off all human life by then.


Thank you for this article----it boggles my mind how people fail to understand that they have a natural right to water ,air, land and all the natural resources----beyond these screwed up nation states created by the elite.

In the San Bernardino Mnts. Nestle has been taking over 52 million gallons of water for the cost of about $600. a year. There is a big battle going on over this for the past couple years—it came to light during the drought. And a company called Cadiz wants to suck the desert dry sending water to LA---------I guess I should just stick a pipe in the ground ,pump water out and start selling it-----I wonder what would happen ???


I would like to stretch the 4th amendment out to this meaning that________I cannot be secure in my person if I am drinking poison water. GIVING Nestle a community’s water is an UNREASONABLE SEIZURE when the state of California is in a drought!

I am also wondering who benefits when the Forest Service gives away water in state and national parks, and for such a pittance of money. Who in government benefits as the People don’t. “Water is life,” Nestle----- so how is it that are you allowed to harm the people and the planet?


See the movie “Chinatown” to see how LA originated its great water heist. Jack Nicholson and the rest of the cast are brilliant.


Meanwhile In California, even as Nestles pumps out millions of gallons of groundwater for a fraction of a cent per gallon, the Residents of that State canbe fined if they use more then 55 gallons in a day.


I remember public drinking fountains, in schools, libraries, hospitals, companies, airports, restaurants.


Humans very well may end up poisoning themselves first before it gets too hot to grow crops. They can use 110 $1.85 million dollar missiles daily but can’t fix the pipes so citizens can have clean water. Sheeezzzz!!!


I use a Brita filter pitcher here at home mostly to remove the chlorine and bad taste. I remember the water being good here in Albuquerque. Well I grew up in the heights where water came from deep wells in the aquifer. A lot of city water comes from the Rio Grande for those in the lower levels in the valley.


Usury and parasitism of the most revolting and criminal sort,but that is what present day America is built on, isn’t it?

A judge ruled that the “right” to safe, accessible water supply that isn’t usury in cost in America doesn’t exist…“A right of this nature is not rooted in our nation’s traditions”. Not “rooted” in our Vulture Capitalist “traditions” but in the larger picture of life on Earth it is!

The theft of public resources by the rich and powerful IS the tradition in America! IF you have the connections you can take natural resources for your own profit. extract and sell to the public often for obscenely high or ludicrous prices and demands…what we need is a revolution of moral compass to root-out the people and system that makes slaves of the 99% one way or another, we are slaves to big-money and the minority that controls it…for the last hundreds of years the system of monetary and resource slavery has enriched connected families ad make millions the marks to be fleeced, of course with government and courts right there to “legalize” and enforce the thefts!

We must make such rights to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness “rooted” in this for-profit corporatocracy of, by and for the rich, called America…to alter the status quo to recognize such rights as life-sustaining water as an inalienable right, and rooted in our traditions!!


Mar Twain noting during the 19th century that “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” confirms that this battle HAS indeed been in progress for “hundreds of years”.


Mni Wiconi - water is life.
Thirst for it and knowledge. Priceless…


Sustainability takes on new meaning when countries are importing and exporting water, not just in river tussles, but also bottling up their water and selling it abroad.
What should a country’s people do when they don’t have water?This puts population iand nationality issues into question.