- Makareta Tawaroa

Wai - He Taonga no Ranginui

Water - A Gift From Sky Father

Fresh drinking water is indispensable for all life, human, terrestrial and aquatic. In many places, demand exceeds sustainable supply, often with dramatic consequences. Large cities, like Auckland, are dependent on significant supplies of water; and continue to experience periods of shortage not only in summer. Water, too, has not always been administered with sufficient oversight and impartiality.

Poor People Are Most Affected

Water poverty affects countries all over the world. Some countries are rich in water while others endure scarcity on a daily basis. Huge populations have no access to safe drinking water, in both war and peace time. Countries at war suffer deep uncertainty. The quality of water that is available to poor people is mostly toxic. But they have no choice. Droughts are now more regular and more severe. Water shortage impedes agriculture production which leads to poor health. Every day, unsafe water results in many deaths and the spread of water-related diseases, including those caused by micro-organisms and chemical substances. Dysentery and cholera, are the result of inadequate hygiene and water supplies, a significant cause of infant mortality.

Inadequate Regulations

Underground water sources in many places are threatened by pollution, produced in certain mining operations, farming and industrial activities. Many countries lack adequate regulatory controls which leads to exploitation by transnationals. Detergents and chemical products commonly used in developed countries of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas unabated.


Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, there is the bizarre practice of wanting to privatise this valuable food, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. This is a scandalous reality and must be stopped.

We, in Aotearoa New Zealand, have a grave social debt toward people who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. This debt could be paid partly by an increase in funding to provide clean water and sanitary services among the poor if wealthy authorities have a mind to do so. But water continues to be wasted, particularly in the developed countries which possess it in abundance. Some companies want to bottle it and sell to the highest bidder, like Aquifer 182, a local company here in Whanganui.

Greater Inequality

The issue of water is partly an educational and a cultural one, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such outrageous behaviour within the context of great inequality. Greater scarcity of water will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use. Some studies warn that an acute water shortage will occur sooner than we think unless urgent action is taken now. The environmental repercussions will affect billions of people if we don't do something. It's just a matter of time.

In some countries, transnational companies control who gets water and who doesn't. It will become a major source of conflict in many countries, if it hasn't happened already. The depletion of natural resources is happening everywhere. It is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption, particularly in developed countries. It is clear that the exploitation of the planet already exceeds acceptable limits.


It takes a lot of work to compile and write the material presented on these pages - if you value the information, please send a donation to the address below to help us continue the work.

Foreign Control Watchdog, P O Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand/Aotearoa.

Email cafca@chch.planet.org.nz


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