Who Are The Global Water Grabbers


In these uncertain times when Water Scarcity is the biggest threat the world has ever seen, Who are the Global Players that are waiting in the wings to capitalize on Global Water Scarcity and the future of Water Supply Ownership?

They are called Water Grabbers that are the elite Billionaires, Investment Corporations and International Mega Banks that use the Courts, Water Rights, Privatization, Wealth and the Global Water Crisis to capitalize for their own interest.

This story doesn’t start here, or in the future and is not limited to war-torn African contenants that are desperate to survive the upcoming reality. The new Water Barrens could be that reality. Because with every crises comes Opportunity.

 

Investing In Water Rights

 

Water Rights in the United States are almost the equivalent to owning gold. We often take for granted how much we use water.  Water is truly one of the earth’s most precious resources.  You drink water, bathe in it, use it for cooking, cleaning, washing cars, watering plants, and so on and so forth. In most places around the world, none of these things would be possible if it weren’t for Water Rights.

Remember the movie Chinatown with Jack Nicolson who starred as 1930s era private detective Jake Gittes, a cynical and persistent investigator who stumbles upon corruption in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The film is loosely based on the so-called California Water Wars of the 1920s, when water was being diverted from farms in Owens Valley to the San Fernando Valley via an aqueduct. This was the beginning of the City Of Los Angeles.

The tension between Owen Valley residents and the City of Los Angeles exploded  in 1924, and again in 1927, when protestors blew up parts of the aqueduct. According to the Los Angeles Times, the aqueduct had been dynamited eight times by 1931. The film explores the concept of water rights and ownership, and the belief then that He who owns the water has all the power.
In this case, the power belongs to Noah Cross (John Huston), a man of considerable wealth who, at one time, owned the Water and Power Department. He owned the Public Utility Company. How did that Happen? Can it Happen again?

Here in the United States there are two main types of water rights: prior appropriation (typically found in the western states) and riparian water rights (typically found in the eastern states). Water rights are under state’s jurisdiction and vary from state to state. You will find that several states treat the appropriation of water rights, both ground and surface, differently

Water rights are a type of property rights to determine the land owner’s legal right to use water from sources like streams, rivers, or groundwater.  They are normally different in each State and are classified in 2 areas as Use-Based and Land-Based

An owner of the water rights that are available with a tract of land can often sell those rights to another land owner or another person altogether. It’s much like selling an easement on your property for someone’s use of your driveway or a companies right to drill for oil or dig for gold.

In the United States those laws are divided by land that is located in the East or the Western States. There are 2 legal systems that determine who owns water rights.

In the Eastern US the System is called Riparian Water Rights. In the Western US is called Prior Appropriation. With Riparian Rights, the land owner whose land touches the body of water (such as a river or steam) are allowed “reasonable use” of the water. They can’t divert the river and they can’t use so much of the water that they negatively impact other riparian owners.

With Prior Appropriation. Basically the one that used the water for some type of beneficial use, first gets to continue using them (for farming, for instance), even if it is somewhat to the detriment of another land owner.

These systems are used to address the right to who uses the water in a lake or a stream. Then the rules are divided once again for Underground Water Rights. Under these, called the  Rules of Absolute Ownership (or the rule of capture), you can drain as much water as you want from underneath your land, even if the aquifer you are draining extends under many other parcels.

The more common practice is the American rule which allows you to drain as much as you can as long as you are not wasting the water or have some other negative motive.

Sounds like litigation and it is.  Apparently all water rights end up in court before a judge who has to decide who owns this and who owns that. 

There are States like California that create rules based on earlier rulings but you get the idea, that it’s all pretty complicated and rulings are based on where you are and where the land is located. One of the most notable water rights deals is billionaire T. Boone Pickens selling his water rights of land he owns over the Ogallala Aquifer in West Texas for $103 million to 11 nearby cities including Amarillo and Lubbock. He sold the right to drain 65 billion gallons of water a year from underneath his land. 

 

The Ogallala Aquifer is a shallow water table aquifer surrounded by sand, silt, clay, and gravel located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. One of the world’s largest aquifers, it underlies an area of approximately 174,000 square miles in portions of eight states. It was named in 1898 by geologist N. H. Darton from its type locality near the town of Ogallala, Nebraska. The aquifer is part of the High Plains Aquifer System, and rests on the Ogallala Formation, which is the principal geologic unit underlying 80% of the High Plains.

What Is Global Water Grabbing

 

If you have the knowledge of Hydrology or access to a Hydrologist. If you have information on parcels of ground in barren wastelands across this country or any country in the world and have an idea that water can be access from underground, and of course, you got big billionaire bucks. There is an incredible opportunity waiting for Courtesy of the Crisis that is Water Scarcity in Texas or all over the world.

Here’s How:

  • Buy a Tract of Land in Texas-The state of Texas uses the Rural Law of Capture. The amount of water from underground could be enormous compared to whats on top in the way of a sream or lake that run across other parcels of land owned by others. According to laws in Texas, you can use these Laws from Prior Appropriation and purchase a tract of desolate rural land that is dirt cheap and of no use to anyone. Drill and hit water that could be coming from another county on another persons land and pump as much as you want legally. 
  • You can wait it out-Wait for things to get worse and according to most scientist, Hydrologist, and people in the Southwaest part of this country all know, thats not a maybe. Thats a gimme. 
  • Stay ahead of any neighbors that may have the same intentions as you. They may even know that there is water under their parcels of land and too. If they are determined to drill then beat them to the punch and get going. Start the drilling process and let everyone know your intentions. Print it in the Newspaper. This protects you under Texas Law as the first person that steps up to the plate and entitles you to The Underground Water rights.
  • Negotiate the cost to anyone within 50 miles of where you are drilling from your property. That includes Cities and Municipalities ranches and homeowners. You can even do what Billionaire T.Boone Pickens did, and make public announcements that you are intending on drilling and selling water. If you do not receive the price your looking for you can always pipe it out and sell it somewhere else. Beacause in this part of the country everyone needs Water. The parcel of land that you bought for peanuts at the end of the day could be worth quite a bit of money.

Every year almost one million people die from water borne diseases being exposed to unsafe water. At the same time some people around the world are experiencing draught making water a scarce resource. This leaves the burning question is Water a Human Right and should it be avaiable to all.

Even though humans around the world need clean water to survive only 1 in 9 people around the globe actually get it. As far back 2010 the United Nations recognized that more people were dying from lack of water than from acts of violence including war. They went to declare that “water was a basic human right” The United Nations went to declare t the International Community ” to provide safe, clean and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all”

The biggest part the worlds water problem that is Scarcity, is that out of all the water that exist on earth only 2,5 % of that water is drinkable. Water distribution is extremly exspensive. Places like Africa struggle to find the monies even to start the necessary infrastructure it would take to distribute sources of a water to the people that need it the most. 

This bring into the conversation of another way of Water Grabbing.  It’s called Privatization.

Privatization is happening here in the States and around the world by big companies bailing Water Distribution Companies out of  problems they can’t handle or don’t want to handle.

This has already been tried on large scale a few times most recently in Bolivia where privatization of Water Distrubution  has been tried and failed miserably testing the waters for Big Money to take over basic needs of people around the world.

It’s a predictable outcome because corporations are involved in making money for their investors and themselves. So what happened in Bolivia is that the people get the short end of the stick. The Corporation bought in and; doubled their customers rates and then broke the laws and regulations set by the Government of Bolivia who the fined the Corporation who then had to double the customers rates again to pay for the fines. There has to be a better way.

Water grabbing is not just a problem in the underdeveloped nations that suffer from unstable governments and ones affected by draught. There are similar problems happening right here under American’s noses. Sitka, Alaska, is home to one of the world’s most spectacular lakes in the United States.  The reservoir, named Blue Lake named for beautiful color holds trillions of gallons of water so pure it requires no treatment.

The city’s tiny population—fewer than 10,000 people spread across 5,000 square miles makes this an embarrassment of riches. Every year, as countries around the world struggle to meet the water needs of their citizens, 6.2 billion gallons of Sitka’s reserves go unused.

That could soon change in 2019. In a few months, if all goes according to plan, 80 million gallons of Blue Lake water will be siphoned into tankers normally reserved for oil & shipped to a bulk bottling facility near Mumbai, India.  From there it will be dispersed among several drought-plagued cities throughout the Middle East. The project is the brainchild of two American companies. One, True Alaska Bottling, has purchased the rights to transfer 3 billion gallons of water a year from Sitka’s bountiful reserves.

 

Water Right owner all over the country can buy and sell shares of established water rights right online like here at the Water Right Exchange. This where you can rent, lease or buy Water Rights in any region of the United States.

Private ownership of water utilities has been growing worldwide for more than a decade. The number of people served by private water companies grew from 51 million in 1990 to nearly 300 million in 2002, according to the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.

In the United States, each person, on average, uses about 150 gallons of water daily. In Britain, that per-person average falls to 30 gallons a day. In the world’s poorer countries, such as Kenya, millions of people subsist on less than 5 gallons a day. 

Because the problems are overlooked by so many it gives opportunity to a few especially to a few people that have a lot of money and waiting to take an opportunity. There is an old saying my old man use to use that ” a Crises Today Creates An Opportunity Tomorrow.”

With as much as 85% of Americans hooked up to public water companies, multi-international companies seek opportunities to take over your water company. This is a real possibility. It gets Public Utility Companies out of trouble from the failing problems of Infrastructure they can’t fix.  

There is opposition from citizens to sell out their water companies to Private or International Corporations. It’s well known that American water companies that sell out and privatize to bigger companies always raise their rates.

Water Privatization Debate

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit water advocacy group Food & Water Watch has looked at average water rates charged by utilities in California, Illinois, Wisconsin and New York and it found that private utilities charged consumers “significantly higher water rates” than public ones did — as much as 50 percent more.

If you think that water is a right for all Americans then go to Flint Michigan where residents to this day only use tap water to flush their toilet with. Flint first gained notoriety for lead poising in their drinking water. Remember Flint the low income community that tried to escape one of the highest water rates in the country by maintaining their own and end up killing people. There is still thousands of residents without water to drink.

Unable to  use drinking water, most people from Flint drink bottled water and ones that can’t afford to try and make due by drinking Flint’s water that is 866 x’s the federal regulations set for Lead across America.

In contrast to citizens of Flint, global corporations possess seemingly limitless access to clean water. While Flint was experiencing its water crisis, only two hours away in Evart, Michigan that could be called  small town America, with clean streams and an untainted aquifer. The corporate multinational, Nestle Company, was pumping the equivalent of 100,000 times an average Michigan resident’s water use into plastic water bottles for sale at about $1 a bottle across American Midwest. For this amount Nestle Corp. pays $ 200.00 annually for the water bill.

This is one of the reasons that there are major movements around the world to keep water in the publics control. Baltimore is the first U.S. city to amend its charter in the city’s constitution to prohibit water privatization. And it is part of a global water justice movement to realize that human rights are linked to water. In 2004.

All over the world, cities have committed to keep water services in the publics control, most recently Berlin and three other German cities. There are many people and countries that don’t feel the same way.

Hundreds of cities in the United States have already been invoved with foreign and American corporations and lots more with infrastructures that were built when Henry Ford was building his Model-T have the pen in hand. 

Given the financial state that many municipalities find themselves in, the lure of privatization is clear and legislation already passed in New Jersey and a similar bill proposed this month in Wisconsin and others make it easier for communities to sign on with a private partner.

What Countries Sell their Water To Other Countries

 

At least, here in America people here have some voice and say in what’s happening in their neighborhood. People in the poorest nations in the world who are devastated by drought and famine have little to say about anything. Places like Chile auction of huge chunks of crystal clean water to global mining corporations and other international companies who can pay big bucks and who now own parts of their countries

Countries, including Australia, Chile, the U.S., and Spain, have introduced water markets and water trading, whereby a water license is converted to private property and private investors and industrial agribusiness hoard, buy, sell and trade raw water on the open market to those who have the bucks and see an opportunity.

In all of these cases, water becomes the private property of those with the means to buy it and is increasingly denied to those without. The corporate owners no matter what country they are from, make the rules. there are impacts that are felt in these local communities that have never been effected before. Local farmers, fishing buisiness and anyone connected to the source of the raw water has to step aside.

The utilities have also added to the water ownership, wastewater that connects to the water supply for complete control of the utilities. These locations include places throughout China and India. The places that you would think are having the most problems associated with Water Scarcity, pollution, and economic poverty. The numbers are piling up and the International Banks and the host governments are making it easier and faster to do so.

 

Who Owns the Most Water Rights in the World

Back in 2012, newspaper articles on investment started using words like water and commodity together in the same sentence. This may have been happening before. I never seen this coming but I sure get it now. The Water Scarcity problems on earth has risen so high that water has become the oil in this new Frontier of Economic Globalism.

It’s not land anymore. It’s what’s under the land.

It’s a Big Boy’s Game. Familiar sounding banks and investing powerhouse Companies like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water.

Wealthy tycoons and Texas  Billionaires such as T. Boone Pickens, Fellow Texas Billionaire former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, Philippines’ Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.

At the same time that water rights were becoming news,  citizens of the USA were being targeted for controlling water for self sustaining reasons like the story of “Rain Man” Gary Harrington in Oregon. The Video give s a realistic viewpoint and is worth watching.

 

If you remember the case, the state of Oregon Prosecuted Gary for collecting rainwater on his private property and sent him to jail for doing it. “Rainman” became a symbol for Preppers, Libertarian fundamentalist who said the government laws appy only to the people that they want them to aply to. 

A the time this was going down T. Boone Pickens a Texan Billionaire owned more Water in the world than any other human being on the earth. Most of it from the Ogallala Aquifer which is located in America.  The water lies several hundred feet below the surface. It is part of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast underground reservoir that stretches from the High Plains of Texas all the way to the Dakotas. The Ogallala is the largest single groundwater source in the United States.

Gary Harrington could not collect rainwater runoff on 170 acres of his private land. this made for an uproar of residents of the  communities.

With Wall streets interest diversifying in the last few years came other industries associated with the Commodity Water like desalination projects, water-purification and treatment technologies, irrigation and well-drilling technologies, water and sanitation services and utilities, water infrastructure.

Maintenance and construction (from pipes and distribution to all scales of treatment plants for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal uses), water engineering services that include desalinization, along water purification technologies. Well drilling, water bottle vending machines. Anything to do with water and its infrastructure.

 Goldman Sachs is positioning itself to gobble up water utilities, water engineering companies, and water resources worldwide. Since 2006, Goldman Sachs has become one of the largest infrastructure investment fund managers and has amassed a $10 billion capital for infrastructure, including water and is dealing China who now is in the Bottle Water Business. If you have watching the news It’s China who has one of the biggest problems with air and water pollution on the planet.

Mega Banks like Citi Bank and Mega Investment firms suggest to everyone that investments should be made Water. Because Water Is the “Paramount Megatrend of Our Time” 

One of the world’s largest banks, JPMorgan Chase has aggressively pursued water and infrastructure worldwide. In October 2007, it beat out rivals Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to buy U.K.’s water utility Southern Water with partners Swiss-based UBS and Australia’s Challenger Infrastructure Fund. This banking empire is controlled by the Rockefeller family; the family patriarch David Rockefeller is a member of the elite and secretive Bilderberg Group, Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission.

Former President George H.W. Bush’s Family Bought 300,000 Acres on South America’s and World’s Largest Aquifer, Acuifero Guarai (298,840 acres, to be exact) by the Bush family in 2005 and 2006.

In 2006, while on a trip to Paraguay for the United Nation’s children’s group UNICEF, Jenna Bush (daughter of former President George W. Bush and granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush) reportedly bought 98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay).

This land is said to be near the 200,000 acres purchased by her grandfather, George H.W. Bush, in 2005.

The lands purchased by the Bush family sit over not only South America’s largest aquifer — but the world’s as well — Acuifero Guaraní, which runs beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This aquifer is larger than Texas and California combined.

According to Wikipedia, this aquifer covers 1,200,000 km², with a volume of about 40,000 km³, a thickness of between 50 m and 800 m and a maximum depth of about 1,800 m. It is estimated to contain about 37,000 km³ of water (arguably the largest single body of groundwater in the world, although the overall volume of the constituent parts of the Great Artesian Basin is much larger), with a total recharge rate of about 166 km³/year from precipitation. It is said that this vast underground reservoir could supply fresh drinking water to the world for 200 years.

the Elite Mega Banks and Investment firms along with Billionaire investors like Filipino Tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan, Warren Buffet and Hong Kong Multibillionaire Li Ka-Shing’s are shopping worldwide for deals. Back in America where infrastructure-privatization fever is unstoppable many local and state governments are just giving it up under financial and budgetary strains.

These local and state governments can longer shoulder the responsibilities of maintaining and upgrading their own utilities. Facing offers of millions of cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, and other elite banks for their utilities and other infrastructure and municipal services, cities and states will find it extremely difficult to refuse these privatization offers.

What would happen if the corporations that privatize these public water companies and sources of water in a region decide they need to ramp up the profits that year like most companies that are profit-driven do. A better question would be How would they do it?  Would they raise the rates and maybe increase the surplus for more water that can’t be replaced., making a sustainable situation in one part of the world more of an unstainable situation? Could that happen in the United States?

Global Water Grabbing is more than buying up an Aquifers but the whole machine that makes it tick. The problem of Water Scarcity is coming here to America to roost too. It’s not just a nation in war-torn, draught ridden continents on the other side of the globe. In these Crises, there will still be winners because Out Of Every Crisis Comes Opportunity.

Related Questions:

Which Countries Have the most Freshwater? According to the World Atlas, the top five countries in the world that have the most renewable Freshwater sources are:

  1. Brazil
  2. Russia
  3. The United States
  4. Canada
  5. China

Which Countries Use the Most Freshwater?  A vast amount of water is being used to produce the food and products that nations consume. A large population is the greatest factor and inefficient agriculture increases dependence on the countries water 

  1. China
  2. India
  3. US
  4. Brazil
  5. Russia

What are the Top Countries in the world that are the most affected by Water Scarcity?  According to recent studies done at the University of Arizona the most affected countries are:

  1. Yemen
  2. Libya
  3. Jordan
  4. the Wester Sahara
  5. Djibouti

References: 

The GuardianWater privatization: a worldwide failure?

-ScienceDirect-The Global Water Grabbing Syndrome-

 

Jim has over 30 years in the Water/Wastewater and Water Filtration Business as a Consulting-Operator. He has written over 300 articles on the World-Wide Water Situation.

JimGalloway

Author/Editor, MyWaterEarth&Sky

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