Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water|
by Alan Snitow (Author), Deborah Kaufman (Author), Michael Fox (Author)
From Publishers Weekly
The filmmakers who made the documentary Thirst have put together an account of
the push for the privatization of public water works and the pillaging of the
countryside as producers of bottled water play fast and loose with the water
tables. The authors spotlight eight communities that have fought back against
Big Water, and though each case is unique, there are trends. Water privatization
is an expensive proposition, and many water companies are forced to "quickly
slash costs and raise prices to maximize cash flow and pay down the debt." The
means to turn a profit often include soliciting multi-housing developments to
create new ratepayers and raising water rates, such as a proposal in Felton,
Calif., to hike rates 74 percent over three years. Similar stories appear
throughout the book and detail dealings in communities big-Atlanta, Ga., and
Lexington, Ky., both privatization battlegrounds-and small-Wisconsin Dells,
Wis., and Mecosa County, Mich., where grassroots groups sparred with beverage
giant Nestlé. The writing is provocative and the topic is an easy bet to raise hackles.
2008 Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner in the category of Conscious
"...an interesting read, well-written and thoroughly documented… completed by 50
pages of careful notes and references, helpful and informative." (World
Business, March 2007)
Is water a human right or a commodity to be marketed for profit? Should water be
run by local governments or by distant corporations? Why do we pay more for
bottled water than for gasoline?
These are some of the tough-minded questions Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman
first asked in their provocative and memorable 2004 documentary, also titled "Thirst."
In their new book, the authors investigate how the growing "water business" is
trying to privatize water systems in cities scattered across the United States.
More often than not, local citizens don't even know their water is being sold.
But when people do know what's happening, they form powerful coalitions, fueled
by indignation and outrage. In the process, citizens rediscover some of the
basic principles of democracy, namely, that they should have a voice in their government.
This is the cautionary tale the authors tell through their vivid descriptions of
eight conflicts over water -- from Stockton to Atlanta, Ga.
Should we worry about these new water wars? Yes. Water is not only a limited
resource; it is also necessary for biological survival.
"The current conflict between corporations and citizens movements to control
this precious resource," they write, "will be decided in the years to come. The
outcome of the conflict will surely be a measure of our democracy in the 21st Century."
They're right. See their film. Read this important book. Then decide if you
agree that public control of water is essential for our health and the health of
our democracy. (San Francisco Chronicle, Excerpts of a review by Ruth Rosen)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Jossey-Bass (March 16, 2007)