22M action manifesto – SOMO$O$AGUA: for a citizen water management

WE ARE $O$ WATER! Water is an essential good for life. In fact, it is the basis of all life on Earth. In times of climate, ecological and health crisis, we find ourselves faced with the need to remember: no one should profit from what belongs to everyone. For this reason, this March 22, International Water Day, we vindicate the fight to make common what should never be privatized. Because that’s the way it is. We are facing a millionaire business, managed worldwide by large companies and their subsidiaries that exploit this basic resource.

The exploitation of the Global South

Today we are here, not only to fight for ourselves but also for the Global South! As always, the most affected by the climate crisis, where reservoirs such as El Yeso or floods such as Alto Maipo are in danger of being abandoned or destroyed due to lack of water. And the benefit of private companies, such as Aguas Andinas or AES Gener, is to put before the interests of the people who live in the territory: exploited places become especially vulnerable to torrential rains, no matter how many houses are destroyed by them. They often run out of water after aquifers are depleted to satiety. As always, life does not matter in the face of financial benefits.

In fact, these last days we have seen helplessly how Patagonia burns at the behest of arson. The reason is the same as always: the precious metal deposits of interest to large corporations are under the ground of one of the largest freshwater regions on the planet. It’s the same story as the Amazon fires for soy monocultures and mining. We are sick of them lying, extorting and murdering in the Global South. From here we demand that the Government tells the truth, recognizes and acts to condemn these atrocities towards our sisters in the South!

Companies and subsidiaries from the Global North with very local impacts

But the companies here are also guilty: when international corporations land to manage the water of cities like Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia, the price of water increases. Whose responsibility is it? The various local branches of these international corporations.

These subsidiaries are representatives of old acquaintances from the Global North: Aguas Andinas por Aguas de Cartagena are subsidiaries of Agbar, the water management company here in Barcelona. For more than a century, Agbar has had a monopoly on the management of this common good, which has allowed it to enrich itself at the expense of all, as with the unjustified increase in the water bill at the end of last year, during the worst part of the lockdown.

These monopolies are backed by a system that protects the profits of these large companies and attacks life itself: the Supreme Court endorsed the concession of water management to Agbar until 2047, while large economic interests have allowed water to enter the Wall Street futures market. If these companies already benefited from the rulings in their favor of institutions like the Supreme Court, what will they not do now that they can speculate freely? We say it clearly: the forever toxic system is not an option, and we will not allow institutions to continue rewarding the greed of these companies.

We refuse to accept that the basis of all life is on the same level as gold or oil. We are already seeing legal battles between large corporations to take over its management: Suez, the company that owns Agbar, has an open conflict with another of the large water management companies, Veolia. They fight to get even richer by sharing water management, while most of us suffer from their decisions on a global scale. Prohibitive prices, unexpected increases, abandonment of deposits… What is already happening is only going to increase in the coming years.

Make common the source of all life

Faced with this reality, activists and organizations that rebel for life say: enough is enough! The Supreme Court intends to tie us to private water management until 2047 and we cannot tolerate it! We are committed to citizen management of water, which allows us to decide among all what is common. Democratizing the source of all life is, in this 2021 of changes and suffering, a necessary little utopia.

We demand public water management!

We demand citizen Assemblies to make decisions to face this climate crisis!

We will not tolerate profiting at our expenses!

We put life at the center!

Water is life!