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WATER FOR LIFE
In Defense of Our
can express Reverence
and Concern for
the precious gift of Water
the Ecology Working Group
of the JPIC Promoters,
Rome, Italy - June 2003
Your comments, questions
and ideas are welcome,
or if you would like
please contact us at:
“Praised be You, my
Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly, precious and pure.”1
(Canticle of the Creatures,
St. Francis of Assisi.)
A few Facts about water
Privatization of Water.
Questions for reflection
Water and the Bible
Church Document references to Ecology
Some Ethical Challenges and Extracts from the Holy See
text for Kyoto, 2003
Questions for reflection
Why should religious be concerned with Environmental
A few things to do – personally and collectively
Questions for reflection
A Liturgy on Water
Resources on Water – websites in different languages
Water is essential to sustain the Earth and its
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2003 an
International Year of Freshwater to call the world's attention to the
crisis surrounding a most precious resource, water.
What is the water crisis about? Some would say that it is
about scarcity and a growing population. Others would say that it is about
distribution, waste, and lack of reverence for water in a materialistic
and consumer society. Others would say that it is about the privatisation
of water supply services and ownership - with 95% these activities still
controlled by the public sector.
Every citizen has a birthright to water as well as to
health care and education. Access to such basic goods is not a matter of
choice, but a Human Right.
However, this right has yet to be formally recognised by
the international community, despite lengthy discussion and negotiations
within the three "World Water Forum" events of 1996, 2000 and 2003, an
International Freshwater conference in 2001 and discussions within the
United Nations. No consensus on the issue emerged from the World Water
Forum in Kyoto, March 2003, or from the G8 Summit in Evian (1-3 June,
2003) in its Action Plan for Water - seven of the G8 leaders representing
Christian nations. It was in Kyoto that the
Vatican reiterated and elaborated its strong support for the right to
water. Extracts from the Vatican paper will be presented later in this
People have no alternative to water, even when price
increases threaten their accessibility to it. Therefore, the provision of
these goods cannot be left to market forces. “Water by its very nature
cannot be treated as a mere commodity among other commodities. Catholic
social thought has always stressed that the defence and preservation of
certain common goods, such as the natural and human environments, cannot
be safeguarded simply by market forces, since they touch on fundamental
human needs which escape market logic”. (cf. Centesimus Annus, 40).
This booklet, following the “see, judge and act” method,
aims to give you clear information on issues related to water. It is the
second booklet in a series on environmental issues put together by a
working group of International JPIC promoters based in Rome.
Our overall goal is to help encourage sustainable
lifestyles in religious communities. The first booklet was dedicated to
Climate Change and Global Warming (www.ofm-jpic.org/globalwarming).
There is already a wealth of information available on water so we do not
propose to give an exhaustive exposé on all aspects of the theme. The
signs of the times call us to environmental conversion. We hope this
booklet will be a step in that direction.
A central question is why we should be more involved in
this and other issues relating to Social and Environmental Justice. Water
is an essential element not only for growing crops and raising animals,
but also for people’s very survival. Yet water scarcity is widespread. In
many rural areas, water tables are falling, wells are contaminated and a
rapidly decreasing runoff/ water flow is available. Competitive claims on
water resources by irrigation, industry and urban domestic consumers often
favour the more powerful, leaving the less powerful thirsty. Inaction on
our part will have profound consequences for life in all its forms and
especially for the vulnerable on our Mother Earth.
A Few Facts About Water…
The poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge in “Rhyme of the Ancient
Mariner” says: “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”. Why do
we need to become water efficient? Fresh water is increasingly scarce
today – the UN World Water Development Report has predicted that “by the
middle of this century, at worst 7 billion people in sixty countries will
be water-scarce, at least 2 billion people in 48 countries.
Consider these facts:
Almost 98% of the water on planet Earth is salt water,
unfit for human consumption. Less than 1% of total freshwater is
available for our use; the majority of it is locked in polar snow and
ice!2 To put it
another way: Of every hundred litres of water less than half a teaspoon
is fresh water available for human use.
Global water consumption has risen almost tenfold since
1900. World population is expected to increase by 45% in the next thirty
years, whilst freshwater wastage is expected to increase by 10%.
Recent estimates is that climate change
will account for about 20% of the increase in global water scarcity3..
Other factors influencing scarcity are:
Degradation of water bodies; water tables, rivers,
wetlands and bays.
Inequality of distribution.
Cross border conflicts. iv) Privatization.
According to the United Nations’ 1998 Human Development
Report, threefifths of the 4.4 billion people in the developing world
lack access to basic sanitation and almost a third have no access to
Under the Millenium Development Goals, 2000, the UN
General Assembly agreed to halve by 2015 the number of people (then 1.2
billion) without access to safe water. A similar 2015 target for
sanitation (lacked by an estimated 2.4 billion people) was subsequently
agreed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002.
Global water usage is divided thusly: agriculture: 70%;
industry: 22% and domestic 8%.4
Hidden Uses of water: The Average water (in
litres) needed to produce a kilo of: potatoes (1000), maize (1,400),
rice (3,400), chicken (4,600) and beef (42,500)5.
More than half of the world’s major rivers are being
seriously depleted and polluted, and 25 million people fled their homes
in 1998 because of contamination and depletion of river basins,
outnumbering war-related refugees for the first time6.
he UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated
that 100 tourists use the same amount of water in 55 days that could
grow rice to feed 100 local villagers for 15 years.7
Typhoid, malaria, dengue, cholera and other
water-related diseases are responsible for about 5 million deaths per
year. This means that every minute of the day, somewhere in the world,
ten persons, usually children, die unnecessary deaths.8
Comparison of water consumption per day: The
Gambia (4.5 litres); Mali (8.0); USA (500); and England (200). The
recommended basic requirement per person is 50 litres, but people can
get by with 30 litres.9
Water and Food Security: In the World Peace Day
Message 2002,10 Pope
John Paul II stated that ‘water is a basic factor of food security”.
Using sophisticated computer modeling, a report by the International
Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)11.
projects that by 2025, water scarcity will cause annual global losses of
350 million metric tons of potential food productionslightly more than
the entire current U.S. grain crop. In other words, it now appears that
one of the main factors limiting future food production will be water.
In the developed world it takes on average 15,000 litres
of water per year to remove the human waste of each person. (35 kilos of
excrement and 500 litres of urine).12
“Approximately 25% of bottled water is merely tap water
and according to tests carried out in the USA by the Natural Resources
Defence Council (NRDC) it violated, in at least one sample, an
enforceable standard or exceeded microbiological-purity guidelines.”13
The water bottling industry profits from the sale of
this common resource at the expense of the environment. Pumping can dry
out springs, destroy habitats, devastate ecosystems, and drain aquifers.
Plastics are now the fastest growing sector of the waste stream and
presently take up more than 25% of the volume of materials sent to
landfills every year.14
The Perrier group owned by Nestle is twice as big as the
next largest waterbottling corporation. Nestle owns approximately 30% of
the bottled water market. Danone controls 15% of the market, with Pepsi
and Coca-Cola as runner- ups. The bottled water industry is currently
worth $22 billion and some experts estimate a growth potential of 30%
PRIVATISATION OF WATER – “A BIG ISSUE!”
WATER AND MULTINATIONALS
Predictions are that by the year 2025 two-thirds of the
world population will not have access to sufficient drinking water. Many
multinational corporations see this “crisis” for humanity as an economic
opportunity. Fortune Magazine, May 2000 stated: “Water promises to be to
the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity
that determines the wealth of nations.” However, unlike oil, water has no
For most people water is not thought of as a “commodity”
to be bought and sold. Water has always been considered as being a “public
trust” because water is essential, not only for human life, but for animal
and plant life as well as for the life of the planet itself. Water
services have therefore been the responsibility of public and municipal
Under the World Trade Organization (WTO)16
and its General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS),17
water services are coming under a new set of rules. The rules
enable multinational companies to “buy and sell” water rights in the
country of their choice. Consider these examples:
Alaska Water Exports at one time had a proposal to haul
glaciers from Alaska to Saudi Arabia
The Swiss multinational, Nestle Corporation, owner of 68
bottled water companies, pumps water from Lake Michigan in the United
States at a profit of about $1.8 million dollars a day. Sixty-five per
cent of the water leaves the area in large trucks to be sold in other
In 1998, a Canadian Company received permission to haul
off 156 million gallons of Lake Superior water every year and sell it in
Asia. The proposal was eventually rejected because of public and
The first big water war of the 21st century took place in
Bolivia, when the World Bank refused to renew a $25 million loan unless
water services were privatized. After the public water utility in the city
of Cochabamba was sold to Bechtel, a powerful U.S. corporation, water
rates were immediately increased. The people of Cochabamba protested in
massive street demonstrations for days which eventually led to a general
strike that shut down the city’s economy and Bechtel was forced to leave
the country. As this is being written, Bechtel is suing the government of
Bolivia for $25 million in a “secret court” of the WTO!
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
make, in many cases, new loans conditional on the privatization of water
and other services! “A random review of IMF loans in 40 countries during
2000 revealed that 12 countries had loan conditions that imposed water
privatization. In general, it is African countries, the smallest, most
impoverished, and most debt-ridden countries that experience these
conditions. More than 5 million people die each year in Africa from poor
Recently, the Dutch Financial Daily carried an article
stating that “the European Union puts developing countries under pressure
to hand over their water supply to European Companies”. The article
provides insight into which sectors in other WTO countries the EU wants
market access to, in the framework of GATS and the relevant forthcoming
negotiations under the so-called Doha Round of WTO. European drinking
water corporations like Suez20,
Vivendi, and Thames Water have an interest in the dismantling of public
drinking water supplies in the developing world.21
What is happening is that legal agreements, under the WTO,
guarantee the free and unregulated flow of goods, services, and capital
across national borders. Governments are signing away their control over
domestic water supplies for debt relief, the promise of market access and
for foreign aid. Citizens are then obliged to purchase water at a high
As these institutions (WTO, IMF) take on more and more of
the economic and social policy decision making function of the nation
state, the question must be asked, where does society draw the line
between what goods and services are to be protected because they are
deemed critical for life, critical for a man, woman, or child’s ability to
live a dignified life versus the imperative of business to maximize
QUESTIONS FOR THE “SEE” SECTION:
Of the facts on water which one challenges/disturbs you
most and why?
Which of these facts relate most to your area and
Which of the facts give you most hope and why?
How do you and your community contribute to the “water
What are your feelings about control of water resources
by private enterprise? Share.
WATER IN THE BIBLE22.
During the early centuries of its existence in Palestine,
the Jewish people never succeeded in occupying the seashore. They were not
a people of the beach and sea. The sea with its waves and mysterious
depths frightened them.
The people lived more in the central highlands and
depended for water on the rain and springs. Water falls from on high, from
heaven, on rainy days. In the springs, the water comes from below, from
the earth. Besides, no matter what direction one takes, locally or far
away, it is certain that one will meet water, in the sea. Water exists
above, beneath and to the side. Starting from this empirical observation,
they drew up the image of creation. On the second day, God separated the
waters, that of above and that of below, and created space. On the third
day, here below, God separated the dry land from the flooded land and made
the land appear. The very beautiful poetry of Psalm 104 describes how God
succeeded in mastering the water and putting it at the service of life.
Before occupying the land in the 13th century before
Christ, the people were nomads, who roamed the desert and found life in
the springs in the middle of the desert. Jesus is the Good Shepherd that
leads his sheep to the springs of eternal life (Ps. 23, Jn 10).
When the monarchy fell in 587 BC and the traditional signs
of the presence of God, the temple, possession of the land, sacrifices,
priesthood and Jerusalem, were destroyed, many said: “God has abandoned us
and forgotten about us.” But Jeremiah replied: “God has not forgotten! God
has not broken the alliance with us!” – “How do you know this?” they
asked. “Because the rain continues to fall in due time, the rivers
continue to flow towards the sea, irrigating the land…” (cf. Jeremiah 31,
35-37; 33, 19-26).
Water is good for purifying, for quenching thirst,
irrigating plants, swimming, for refreshing, preparing food, and many
other purposes. It is impossible to live without water.
The Samaritan woman drew water from the well to quench her
thirst every day. Speaking with Jesus, she discovered another spring,
within herself, gushing with eternal life (Jn 4,14). “Happy the person
who… finds pleasure in the Law of the Lord and murmurs God’s law day and
night. That person is like a tree that is planted by water streams,
yielding its fruit in season, its leaves never fading, success attends all
they do.” (Ps 1)
Scripture Resources: Some texts that speak about
water, and their symbolism:
John 7, 37-39, the promise of living water.
John 4,7-14, the water of life in the conversation with
the Samaritan woman.
Ezekiel 47, 1-12, the beautiful vision of water that
flows from the temple irrigating everything.
Apocalypse 7,17, the lamb that leads by springs of
Apocalypse, 22,2, the river that flows from the New
Paradise generating life in all parts.
Genesis 2,10-13, the river of terrestrial Paradise that
generates the 4 great rivers of the world.
Psalm 107, 23-30, God calms the tempests of the waters
of the sea (cf. Mk 4, 35-41).
Water is a primordial reality whose importance and
symbolism touches every level of existence. Ancient myth and modern
science converge when they see water as the cradle of life, the amniotic
fluid that holds the embryo of evolution and growth. As the basic
constituent of all organic material, water is necessary for the existence
of all living things, human, animal and plant.
Its presence assures life and growth; its absence presages
death and decay.
Water refreshes and renews: a pool revives and restores
limbs that are tired and weary; a fountain cools and soothes a spirit that
is burdened and troubled; a bath cleans and purifies a body that is dirty
and contaminated. Not surprisingly, people choose places close to water
for holidays to be renewed and refreshed.
Water has a cycle all its own that is beyond our control.
The rain that falls on all, rich and poor alike, reminds us that creation
is a gift entrusted to our care. Water belongs to no one in particular but
is freely given for the good of all. Whenever politics or economics seek
to block general access to this universal right, the natural order of
things is upended. “The principle water difficulty today is not one of
absolute scarcity, but rather of distribution and resources.
Access and deprivation underlie most water decisions.
Hence linkages between water policy and ethics increasingly emerge
throughout the world.”24
In the Judeo-Christian tradition the rich symbolism of
water finds a wonderful summary in the “Prayer over Baptismal Waters” in
the Rite of Baptism. At the very dawn of creation the Spirit of God
breathed on the waters making them the source of all goodness. The waters
of the great flood were a sign of the waters of baptism, prefiguring the
life to come, an end to sin and a new beginning for all creation. Through
the waters of the Red Sea the Lord led Israel out of Egypt. In the waters
of baptism the new People of God is freed from the slavery of sin. Through
the Jordan River, the Lord brought his chosen ones into the land of Canaan
to live in integrity and peace. Through the waters of baptism, God’s
pilgrim people enter the promised land where justice and harmony prevail.
The prophets announced a future cleansing which would create a new heart
and bestow a new spirit. John the Baptist preached a baptism for the
forgiveness of sins and dramatically prefigured the dawn of redemption
with his rite of washing.
In fulfilment of his baptism, Jesus died on the cross and,
as water and blood flowed from his side, he opened for us the way to
salvation. Baptism is not a rite of passage into a privileged club. It is
primarily a commitment to live in the service of our sisters and brothers
and to manifest the justice of our God and Father as Jesus did. It is the
sacrament by which believers express their commitment to live as the
Spirit-filled community that seeks to anticipate the fullness of life that
God holds in store for all creation.
CHURCH DOCUMENTS ON ECOLOGY:
World Peace Day Message of John Paul II (January 1,
Catechism of the Catholic Church: 299-301; 307; 339-341;
Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio,
Encyclical Letter, Centesimus Annus, 37-38
Encyclical Laborem Exercens, 4
Mater et Magistra, 196,199
Octogesima Adveniens, 21
Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium,#36
Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes #34
Synod of Bishops: Justice in the World, Chapter 1 #2
Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae #42
Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata # 90
Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in America #25
Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Asia #41
Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Oceania #31
“ Water, Fount of Life and a Gift for All”. Bolivian
Episcopal Conference, Cochabamba, February 12, 2003. (Spanish).
SOME ETHICAL CHALLENGES AND EXTRACTS FROM THE HOLY SEE
TEXT FOR KYOTO25:
Access to clean and sufficient water supply is a
"Water is a common good of humankind.
This is the basis for cooperation toward a water policy that gives
priority to persons living in poverty …"
"The centrality of the human person must
be foremost in any consideration…"
"The water services in many developing countries
are, however, still plainly inadequate in
providing safe water supplies. The situation is so dramatic that it
will not be overcome without increased development assistance and
focused private investment from abroad,"
"Funds released through debt relief
could well be utilized in improving water services,"
Privatization and the common good: there are
inherent dangers associated with viewing water as just another
commodity, to be sold in the market place.
The Integrity of Creation: A Christian is called
to promote and protect the environment, not only for the benefits of the
human community, but for the integrity of the whole of creation.
The Prevention Principle: Prevention of harm is
the best method of environmental protection and pro-poor strategies.
The Precautionary Principle: Pollution is
unacceptable. Decisions and actions must be taken to avoid the
possibility of serious or irreversible environmental harm, even where
scientific knowledge is insufficient or inconclusive.
The Polluter pays Principle: Those causing harm
should pay compensation to victims and pay for redress of environmental
Righteous indignation: knowledge of environmental
degradation and exclusion from access to water, along with the dangers
inherent in its commercialization in favour of the privileged, should
elicit a feeling of indignation from the followers of Jesus.
"The principle of the universal destination of
the goods of creation confirms that people and countries,
including future generations, have the right to fundamental access to
"It has proved to be extremely difficult to establish
the right balance of public-private partnerships and serious
errors have been committed. "
"… empowering local governments and local
communities to manage water supplies must be emphasized. Water
management should be based on a participatory approach, involving
users, planners and policy makers at all levels."
“In any formation of private sector involvement with
the state, there must exist a general parity among the parties
allowing for informed decisions and sound agreements. A core
concern in private sector involvement in the water sector is to ensure
that efforts to achieve a water service that is efficient and reliable
do not cause undue negative effects for the poor and low income
"For water users living in poverty …(it is) a
right to life issue."
"The few, with the means to control,
cannot destroy or exhaust this resource, which is destined for the use
of all. Powerful international interests, public and
private, must adapt their agendas to serve human needs rather
than dominate them."
QUESTIONS FOR THE “JUDGE” SECTION
Describe in (a few words) a sentence what you think the
position of the Church is with regard to water?
How does this compare with the market ethic of supply
What is the most recent church statement (local or
international), or comment, you can remember with regard to the
environment in general and to water in particular? What reaction did it
elicit in your community?
Have any of your recent Congregational Chapters made
statements on the Integrity of Creation?
WHY SHOULD RELIGIOUS BE CONCERNED AND INVOLVED IN
Water is a key factor in the earth’s marvellous capacity
to absorb pain, to restore itself.
But today’s attack is overwhelming and places the survival
of the human species at risk. While the hydrological system unravels,
millions are hurting because their right to water has been taken.
We are in a position to defend both our brothers and
sisters and nature itself.
A landmark Papal document devoted exclusively to the
environment and development issues entitled, Peace with God the Creator,
Peace with all Creation (January 1, 1990) states that “Christians, in
particular realize that their duty towards nature and creation is an
essential part of their faith.” (no. 15)26
Ecological integrity is an essential part of all faith traditions and is
an important issue around which dialogue, collaboration and mutual
understanding can be promoted. People of faith from all traditions are
bringing together concern for humanity and care for the earth that
supports life. They are working together locally and internationally to
protect the planet’s precious water and to protect the right of all to
access to water. In the current crisis we need to ally ourselves with
those who have no water or are under threat, and with others who are
fighting for justice among people and for the preservation of this
This is the challenge for today:
The prophetic dimension of religious life calls us to a
lifestyle of simplicity and reverence for all creation.
Many religious are involved in water issues because they
work with communities that do not have access to fresh water!
We are people who can read the ‘signs of the times’.
We are called to be in a continuous process of
We have resources and established networks and ways to
communicate the message and the warning of this threat to life.
We have, through our spiritualities and charisms, a
commitment to reconciliation and restoring harmony.
We are people who come from an ethic of the common good
and an ethic of solidarity with those in pain and in need of care.
How we respond will depend on where we live. For those who
live in societies and countries characterized by consumerism and
materialistic values, ways to live in harmony with creation will differ
from those who live in societies and countries where the basic essentials
to live a dignified human life hardly exist.
PROTECTING AND PRESERVING WATER
A Few Things You can Do…
Every time you see or use water, remember it is a gift
of God. Learn to develop a reverential attitude to this vital liquid. It
is not just a commodity or object but rather “our sister”. By developing
a contemplative gaze we are led to the Creator through creatures: “All
praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly,
precious, and pure.”
Water is life – life for the poor – life for the world.
Be an advocate and defender of “water for all” as a
Human Right. Develop a critical consciousness. Be wary of
recommendations that take responsibility away from local and national
governments on water issues and hand them over to private companies,
Involve civic society in planning and implementing
strategies to defend and preserve water.
Learn from communities who have successfully resolved
problems relating to water.
Find out who owns the companies of bottled water sold
where you live.
Think of some ways you can conserve water in your home.
E.g., fix leaky faucets/taps, limit lawn watering and long showers and
support alternative methods of sewage management (dry sanitation).
Revive water harvesting techniques (traditional
knowledge and practices), protect the watershed by encouraging forestry
programmes and campaigns to plant trees.
Build awareness concerning the importance of healthy
grasslands, farm lands, wetlands and woodlands; it is the best insurance
against water scarcity.
The rights of local communities to manage their water
resources. Question critically the liberalization and commercialisation
of services for water and sanitation.
Advocacy at local, national and international
Find out how water is managed in your country, region
Find out what the water and sanitation policy is in
your local area and in your country. Pay particular attention to what
your government position is on the GATS negotiations;
consult reputable NGOs or other experts for this
information and; iv) work with them to defend basic rights to water
Advocacy in developed countries: target
the national Ministers for Trade and the European Commission for Trade
to defend in clear language at the GATS negotiations the
exclusion of the access to household water and basic sanitation services
from the renegotiated GATS agreement.
Limit the use of lawn fertilizers, and be sure to use
only phosphorus-free fertilizers. Most lawns already have all the
phosphorus they need.
Become an educated consumer! Buy recycled,
environmentally friendly products.
Personal Conversion: Choose one activity
you can personally commit yourself to do and another with your
community. Evaluate this at some future date.
Structural Conversion: Support some
campaign either nationally or internationally that is working to ensure
a just legal framework for the protection of and access to water and/or
sanitation facilities. Evaluate this at some future date.
Change your daily habits and help reduce water pollution
and water use. Drive less and bike, walk or carpool more to help reduce
the production of toxic air pollutants that cause acid rain.
Always take a shower rather than a bath – if under five
minutes you can save up to a 1000 gallons per month. Don't clean your
teeth with the water running – you can save four gallons per minute -
and whenever you use water, use less.
Turn down your water heater temperature and your home
thermostat to reduce energy use and help curb pollutants that cause acid
Share your knowledge and activities with others!
QUESTIONS FOR THE “ACT’’ SECTION
Describe some activities taking place locally or near
you to defend and protect water resources. Who are involved and why?
How can you and your community contribute to the “water
Are any members of your congregation working in
countries where water is being "privatized"? Find out from them what is
happening. Ask if there are actions being requested of the international
FOR REFLECTION AND PRAYER
We invite you to gather in community or with friends for
reflection and prayer using the format below.
Arrange a simple centre for your prayer with a bowl of
CALL TO PRAYER: Creator God, whose
Spirit moved over the face of the waters, who gathers the seas into their
places, and directs the courses of the rivers, who sends rain upon the
earth that it should bring forth life: we praise you for the gift of
water. Create in us such a sense of wonder and delight in this and all
your gifts, that we might receive them with gratitude, care for them with
love, and generously share them with all your creatures, to the honour and
glory of your holy name.28
SCRIPTURE Psalm 65
I believe that water belongs to the earth and to all
I believe that water must be conserved for all time.
I believe that polluted water must be reclaimed.
I believe that water is best protected in natural
I believe that water is a public trust to be guarded at
all levels of government.
I believe that an adequate supply of clean water is a
basic human right.
FAITH SHARING: Share something you learned
from reading this booklet on water. Was there anything that surprised you?
BLESSING OF WATER:
Come up to the bowl of water. Bow before it, put your
hand in it, make the sign of the cross and let water bless you.
CLOSING HYMN: choose a hymn to end your
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES:
IN SEVERAL LANGUAGES:
The World Water Development Report: Water for People,
Water for Life (UN): the report can be ordered on line. A good
executive summery (36 pages) is available in seven languages:
International Year of Freshwater (Official Site):
– English, Spanish and French - For information on what is
happening in your country click on the section “The Year
around the World”.
Water justice for all: global and local resistance to
the control and commodification of water. Twenty six pages.
Published by Friends of the Earth. Available in English, French, Spanish
Document: Water a Right for all - European Africa
Faith and Justice Network. (English and Spanish):
Report by the International Commission on Dams:
Download the complete report in English and Spanish at:
http://www.damsreport.org/report/ Report Overview
available in English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hindi,
Polish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese at:
International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN): -
Spanish and English -
UNESCO and Water: - English, French and Spanish -
Global Environmental Outlook 3 (GEO 3-) provides
an overview of the main environmental developments over the past three
decades (English, Spanish, French and Russian), and how social, economic
and other factors have contributed to the changes that have occurred.
http://www.rolac.unep.mx/geo/geo3/ A Section of this report is on
Freshwater http://www.grida.no/geo/geo3/english/265.htm (English).
World Social Forum - Water: - English, Spanish
and Portuguese –
Swiss Coalition: - German, French, Italian and
World Water Rescue Foundation: - English, Arabic,
Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish -
International Water Working Group:
http://www.savewater.com.au/default.asp: a resource recommended by
Planet Ark. (English).
Greenhouse gas emissions from Dams: for a free
pdf file copy of the 24 page report in English, go to:
http://www.icij.org/dtaweb/water/default.aspx (a series of articles
on multinationals and their search for control of water – (Analysts
predict that within the next 15 years in Europe and North America, these
companies will control of 65 percent to 75 percent of what are now
110 ways to save water – English -
Visioning a sustainable community –English - A
process on how to work out a vision for your community.
Global water outlook:
http://www.ifpri.org/media/water2025.htm - English -. This web site
links water and food security and has several free books to be
downloaded or ordered.
IN GERMAN /PORTUGUESE/SPANISH/FRENCH/ITALIAN:
Tierra America: - Portuguese and English -:
People’s World Water Forum (Florence): - Italian
Brazil Social Forum – Water: - Portuguese -
Water 2003 – Italian, French and German -
Ecologists in Action: – Spanish - http://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/accion/agua/home.htm
Eco Portal – Spanish -:
Save Water and Energy: (technical advice):
- Spanish - http://www.ahorraragua.com/
Ministry of the Environment (France):
Evian Document: -English and French -
THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE HAVE CONTRIBUTED IN A
VARIETY OF WAYS TO THE ELABORATION OF THIS
Cathy Arata SSND., Caroline Price RGS., Willy Ollivier
CICM, Antonio Silvio Da Costa Junior O.CARM., Enrique Marroquín CMF.,
Jefferies Foale C.P., Dominick Pujia, FMS., Tiziana Longhitano SFP.,
Françoise Weber FCJM., Karen Gosser SHCJ., Michael Heinz SVD., Gearóid
Francisco Ó Conaire OFM., Marjorie Keenan RSHM., Vanya Walker-Leigh,
novice TSSF (Anglican Communion), Mons. Liam Bergin, Carlos Mesters O.CARM.,
Josefina Arrieta FMM., Jacqueline Millet FMM., Joe Rozansky OFM., Dina
Trevissan FMM., Dionysius Mintoff OFM., Rita Toutant MSOLA., Paul Gabriel
Pak C.P., Boze Vuleta OFM., Larry Finn C.P., M. Amata, M,. Andrzeja
Godziek SSND., Job Toda OFM, Filo Hirota M.M.B., Hugo Poepping SVD., Frans
Derix CP., Michael Moran CP. (artwork).
(Artwork-copyright, unless used in reproducing the
1 Commentary - “Sister
Water - A Franciscan Perspective”, by Bro. Celso Márcio Teixeira ofm.
Global Environmental Outlook.
3 UN World
Water Development Report.
Boden, Water Supply: Our Impact on the Planet (Hodder Wayland 2002)
Gleick, The World’s Water 2000-2001 (Island Press 2000)
America Press, #7, Feb. 28,2000
Unlimited, May 12, 2001; article by Esther Addley: “Tourist’s Water
Demands Bleed Resorts Dry"
Internationalist Magazine, March 2003
Reference to all of the Holy See’s World Day for Peace messages,
including, 2001, in 6 languages:
“The Global Water Outlook to 2025: Averting an Impending Crisis”
Internationalist Magazine, March 2003
for All Campaign, Public Citizen (www.citizen.org/cmep/water)
World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets the rules for International
Trade, embodies an unshaken belief in the benevolence of market forces.
Focusing on the removal of so-called barriers to trade, it seeks to
establish open markets across the globe, unencumbered by culture,
political traditions, social rights, or environmental protection.
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). -
One of the effects of globalisation is the rapid and often
unnecessary pressure for the privatisation and corporate takeover of
public services – including education, healthcare, water management and
municipal services – in countries all over the world. Large trans-national
corporations in the service industries are working with national
governments and international bodies, to establish a set of powerful trade
rules that will prise open the services market internationally. This is
the subject of the negotiations presently ongoing at the headquarters of
the World Trade Organization
in Geneva, where national governments are negotiating a new
trade and investment treaty.
the Global Commons (Vol.2 No.1 Jan 2003)
Water Grab pamphlet by Polaris Institute (www.polarisinstitute.org)
http://www.suez.com/ (English, Spanish
http://www.vivendiwatersystems.com/ (English and French);
Financial Daily, "Het Financieele Dagblad", February 25, 2003
Carlos Mesters, O.Carm. /2003.
Liam Bergin, Rector of the Irish College, Rome.
"Water, An Essential Element for Life," for the 3rd
World Water Forum (Kyoto, 16th-23rd
March 2003). For copies of the text in several languages go
Reference to all of the Holy See’s World Day for Peace messages, including
on the environment, 1990, in 6 languages:
document on water. c.f.
Council of Churches Prayer Services.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End.
I will give water from the well
of life freely to anyone.