World (Ensia) – As we invest in our public water systems — and we must — we need to distribute costs equitably. Ask someone in Flint, Michigan, or São Paolo, Brazil — the list of cities rocked by water disasters seems to…
Since August, over 400 people have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline –140 in the last week alone. This after the tribe sued the federal government in July, stating that they were not properly consulted about the construction project.
One underlying reason for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the construction of the oil pipeline is the tribe’s concern about safe drinking water. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lawsuit argues that the US government failed to properly consider the potential risks of the pipeline construction to the source of the Tribe’s drinking water.
Courts have twice denied the tribe’s request to stop the pipeline construction for now, agreeing with the government’s position that the Tribe was not sufficiently able to show that they were likely to win their lawsuit.
As the water shortage in Palestinian territory continues; new reports show the Palestinian people are getting less water than ever.
Israeli rationing of water is now essentially a summer tradition in Palestine but this year has been unprecedented. Currently, some territories in the West Bank are under such tight water rations that they have only been getting water “for one hour, twice a week.”
The Native Organizers Alliance has been supporting tribal leaders as they develop strategies to counter the powerful economic elites behind the Dakota Access pipeline.
At the center of the Dakota Access pipeline fight are some of the country’s most impoverished and most economically powerful people.
One section of the four-state pipeline would run through North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation, where 41 percent of 8,200 residents live below the poverty level and nearly a quarter are unemployed. Thousands of people have joined the Standing Rock tribe in opposing the pipeline over concerns it will contaminate their water supply and damage sacred sites and cultural artifacts.
September 28, 2016 -Today, Congressman Dan Kildee secured a pathway forward for federal funding to address the drinking water health crisis in Flint, Michigan through an amendment in the House’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
The Michigan delegation, with the support of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, had pushed hard to add emergency assistance to Flint as part of the pending negotiations over the must-pass Continuing Resolution.
The governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, two states in India, are at loggerheads yet again over the Kaveri river. Each state wants a larger share of the river water. The dispute is over a century old.
Essentially, water cannot reach Tamil Nadu until it is released from the dam upstream in Karnataka. Since the Kaveri is a rain-fed river, every time there is a deficit rainfall during monsoon, the dispute flares up, as it has now.
Since farmers are an important vote bank in both states, both governments pander to them. Therefore the Karnataka government decided that, in order to meet Karnataka’s own agrarian needs, it would not share water with Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court intervened and directed Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.
Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore.
“Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.
We are standing above the new Sorek desalination plant, the largest reverse-osmosis desal facility in the world, and we are staring at Israel’s salvation. Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants.
With heat indices spiking near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and local residents fasting in observance of the Muslim holy month, the latest act by Israel risks loss of life and a fierce response.
The Palestinian-occupied West Bank faces the threat of mass casualties from extreme dehydration and heat stroke as residents face an unseasonably hot start to summer without clean water, during a time when devout Muslims are already fasting in observance of Ramadan.
The Israeli state-owned Mekorot water company cut water supplies to the West Bank more than 40 days ago, forcing locals to rely on untreated groundwater and wastewater to survive. The water shutoff appears to be a premeditated act against the Palestinian people, with Israeli officials saying over one month ago that no technical defects exist on the waterline.
Water shutoffs in the West Bank correspond with Israeli officials boasting about surplus water supplies and plans to export water abroad to improve relations with neighbors. One such deal for exporting Israeli water supplies has already been made with neighboring country Jordan.
The United States has seen more than its fair share of riots over the last couple of years. Many like to see riots as spontaneous events that are completely unpredictable; and some forms of riots of riots are, such as those after sporting events. Most, however, are very predictable. Certain conditions need to be in place before an inciting event can trigger a riot.
The reason the United States is seeing more and more riots is because the conditions are prevalent in more and more communities. These conditions are present in Flint, and the longer it takes the government to act, the more likely a riot becomes. Many times, the cause of the riot is seemingly unknown to the government. In fact, it’s almost a prerequisite for a riot because not many governments are callous enough to let an important grievance of their people go unattended if they are aware of it. In Flint, the government knows what will cause the riot, they just don’t care.
Martin Luther King famously said that a riot is the language of the unheard. He’s right. The conditions for a riot are simple. A populace needs to have a long-standing grievance of life and death that has gone unheard by the government, and they need to be economically depressed. Those three conditions set the stage, then an inciting incident must occur.
By now, most know the newspaper facts behind what happened in Flint over the Memorial Day weekend. A group of activists, some armed, traveled from over twenty states to bring water to a community poisoned and abandoned by those who should be protecting them. The water was distributed, a rally was held, activists took over the streets, and contacts were made. What happened in Flint was far more significant that that simple storyline.
First, it was an all-star cast of attendees. From high-profile activists like retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis to activists whose activities are a little more controversial in nature and who only go into print under aliases; “Yellow Laces” from my coverage of the Ferguson riots was there. They were men and women I recognized from many other news stories over the years and from across the country. There were veterans of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, peace activists, an activist I was subpoenaed to defend in an assault on an LEO case, militiamen who stood their ground at Bundy Ranch and the Sugar Pine Mine, Anonymous activists who have outed pedophiles and shut down DC, even the crew who literally tortured me on the Statehouse steps in Ohio was there. Those who attended were very active activists. This ensemble crossed all ideological lines. The crowd spanned from the far-right to the far-left. Constitutionalists, socialists, anarchists, communists, Republicans, Democrats, and just about every other “-ist” were there is support of Flint. All of that was set aside. In front of City Hall, a local activist wanted to close the day with a prayer. Sam Andrews, a right-wing Constitutionalist, led the prayer. People in the crowd who I personally knew to be atheists bowed their heads, not out of conformity but in unity. Earlier, when a speaker referred to centralized government as “unnecessary”, the Constitutionalists (many of whom see the Constitution and The Bill of Rights as ordained by God) didn’t heckle.
Across Guatemala, both rural communities and urban centers have mobilized to protest the systematic theft and privatization of water by transnational companies and the Guatemalan oligarchy. On April 22, nearly 15,000 gathered in Guatemala City to demand an end to this control over water. Marchers had set out on April 11 from the city of Tecun Unam in the northwest department of San Marcos, and from Puruhá, Baja Verapaz. The various columns of demonstrators walked over 263 miles for 11 days to demand that the state address the right to water across the country.