Water is now a buyable commodity, what’s next?

Just when we thought the world couldn’t get further from “The Lorax,” we have people monopolizing water.

The world is running out of water. It’s not how you are thinking, the oceans will still have water, it’s the important water that’s running out. It’s the freshwater that we need to drink, bathe in and cook with, that is running out.

In 2018, Cape Town residents were preparing themselves for a day-zero, where their water would run out. Completely. This is not some science fiction story but a reality of the world we are living in.

Even Washington is experiencing drought. In July of 2021, Governor Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency across the state except for the King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Climate change is one of the things to blame as the planet will get warmer and more and more water will evaporate. 

One government study done in 2019 about water shortages caused by population growth and climate change, says that it is expected that climate change will cause extremes in the water distribution of Earth. Essentially, there will be more drastic floods and more severe droughts, places that get rain will be flooded and places with water scarcities will have serious droughts. 

This has been coming for a while. Scientists have been saying for years to expect water shortages. However, how some people have chosen to address this only speaks to our society’s capitalist nature and lack of ambition to actually solve problems. 

Companies have started to invest in water. That is a very broad term but the definition is just as broad. People started to buy stocks in big companies that are claiming to provide water to communities in a variety of ways. 

In theory, this is great. However, this in practicality is not as useful. Nelson D. Schwartz from The New York Times reports that Cadiz hasn’t earned any money and instead has accumulated over $185 million in losses. 

In addition to this, the chief executive, Scott Slader, told The New York Times that it would take at least $200 million more to get water to Californians in need. 

People have been pouring money into these ventures with what seems to be little results. 

My real issue with this is that those who have the money to invest in this water are the ones who will get priority for the payoff – the water. This will be one more instance of the rich benefitting in our capitalist society.

People who cannot afford to (or who choose not to) invest in water will not get first dibs in getting the water. This is unethical and a horrible way to restore the world’s water supply.

Maybe I’m just being cynical. But capitalism does seem like a horrible way to save the world. 

So, how can we ensure or help ensure that everyone has water? 

I mean for one, we have to fight climate change so that it doesn’t continue to ruin the water cycle. 

But also, we need to help make sure that everyone has a way to get clean and healthy water so that after we fight climate change, water scarcity will not be a problem for anyone. Ever.