Defending Water in Washington is part of the national Defending Water for Life Campaign of the Alliance for Democracy, which believes that water is a fundamental right for people and nature. Water, like air, is a necessity of all life on the planet. Yet, today, according to Fortune Magazine, water is considered as “One of the world’s great business opportunities. It promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th.”
When corporations like Nestlé, Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola sell water in bottles, the market sets the price. Defending Water opposes such commodification of water. This is different from towns charging for water in order to recoup the cost of providing the public service of treating water and delivering water to its customers.
Nor should community water/sewer services be privatized. Such services should remain in public hands to provide for the community at cost. As for water itself being privatized, we do not believe it should be owned by corporations. As a nun said to Nestlé Waters North America a few years ago, “Nestlé Waters North America! What makes you think the water belongs to you? The water belongs to God.”
A vibrant international movement is challenging the corporate control of water. Defending Water works locally as part of this international movement to defend water as an inalienable right for people and nature.
We are glad to have Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin as a partner in our work.
Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin
Just as forests and fish, clean water is a finite resource. Climate change, population pressures and pollution urgently mandate governments at all levels to manage and share the Skagit River in a sustainable fashion that meets the needs of nature, society and the economy without compromising future generations.
Mission: To protect the public waters of the Skagit River Basin.
- To network with local governments and environmental groups.
- To inform and share with the public.
- To promote citizen input in governmental decisions regarding natural resources.
The commodification of water refers to the process of transforming water from a public good into a tradable commodity.
Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin was formed in Oct. 2010 as a grassroots educational influence to promote citizen input regarding the contract signed between the City of Anacortes and Tethys Enterprises, Inc. Although citizens requested the courtesy of a public hearing before the contract signing of Tethys’ entitlement of five million gallons of water per day for 30 years with two, five-year extensions, Mayor Maxwell of Anacortes denied the citizens. The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) is vital for citizen input. We hope that governmental authority will not declare Tethys Enterprises as having non-significant impact (NSI). At this time, we have no timeline from the City of Anacortes as to when SEPA will be considered.
Tethys Enterprise’s entitlement of five million gallons of water per day will make the plant the largest bottled water/beverage and food manufacturing plant in the United States.
We regard sustainable water industries as key to sharing our Skagit River water source among all communities. We need to swing away from water-intensive manufacturing in the face of a changing climate. We support water as a tool but not as a commodity.