Cape Town residents lining up for water. The water shortage in Cape Town was so dire that the government posted an on-line map showing the water consumption of every household. The South African government also shared a phone number on-line that residents could call to report water wasters.

Does our respect for water mirror our respect for life? This is the question.

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. – Henry David Thoreau [Moraine Lake, Alberta]

The idea of bias becomes important, especially when we evaluate water issues. Where is this person or organization coming from? Do they have an agenda? Are they trying to persuade you to adopt a certain point of view? Consider the following very different viewpoints about water:

Bottled water: the Canadian Bottled Water Association, Nestlé, and Evian have a different view of bottled water, along with a different view of the micro plastics that are found in bottled water, compared to Health Canada, Dr. David Suzuki, the Pacific Institute, the Wellington Water Watchers, and the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Three Gorges Dam / Yangtze River Diversion: the Chinese Government, with the Three Gorges Dam being China’s largest mega project since the Great Wall, has a different view of dams and diverting rivers compared to National Geographic, the BBC, and the 1.4 million water migrants who had to move because of the dam.

Capetown Swimming Pool
Click on: Capetown Faces Day Zero on April 16, 2018

Exxon Valdez: the United States National Park Service and the Coastal First Nations peoples have a different view of the environmental effects of oil spills compared to Exxon Mobile , a company that successfully appealed a $5 billion dollar payout to Alaskan residents living in Prince William Sound in order to have the payout reduced to $508 million. To put this in perspective, Exxon’s quarterly profit in 2018 alone was over $8 billion, thanks in part to President Trump’s  corporate tax cut.  

Rajasthani Girls and Women
Click on: Rajasthani girls and women collecting water. Many girls and women from water-stressed parts of the world carry water several hours each day, with little or no time to go to school as a result.

White Gold: The government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has a different view of the necessity of growing cotton in a parched land (along with the amount of water—and pesticides—needed for its cultivation) compared to the teenagers that are forced to harvest cotton to graduate, or the teachers and doctors that are also compelled to harvest cotton to avoid losing their jobs.

Easter Island
Click on: Easter Island moai statues at risk from rising sea levels.

Commodity or Human Right? GDF Suez, Nestlé, and Coke have a different perspective of water compared to Maude Barlow, the United Nations (as of 2010), and the Detroit Water Brigade.