About the campaign

Girls collecting water from an open source
Young girls collect water on the outskirts of Blantyre, Malawi

Everyone Has the Right to Water

On the edge of Blantyre, one of Malawi’s largest cities, 56-year old Felista rises at dawn every day and makes the long trek to collect water from a crowded, contaminated well. In the city, affluent residents pay for clean, safe water at the tap, delivered by the private corporation that owns the system. But Felista simply can’t afford to buy the water her household needs.

Felista is just one of millions of people around the world whose human right to clean, safe water is threatened by global water corporations.

Water Profiteers Exploit Crisis

Today, we are facing a global water crisis.

  • One in ten people lack of access to clean, safe drinking water.
  • More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.
  • Water systems around the world – including in the U.S. – critically need investment.

Water corporations and their financial backers are exploiting the crisis to transfer public water into private hands. The result: corporate-driven projects that prioritize profit, not people’s needs for access.

We must ensure the investments needed to guarantee universal access are put into public water systems – rather than into the coffers of global corporations like Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé, Suez and Veolia.

Democratically controlled public-water systems work. They have long been the backbone of public health, economic development and environmental sustainability in communities around the world.

But the bottled-water industry and its collaborators has aggressively promoted the false claims that the only place to get water is from a bottle and corporations do a better job of providing clean water than governments. Meanwhile the World Bank dogmatically finances private water projects that  consistently fail to improve access and bolster development. And, it continues to promote private profit over the human right to water. More about the World Bank’s role in water privatization.

The good news: we can still prevent a global corporate water grab and keep our most essential resource in the hands of the people.

Imagine a World Where No One Goes Thirsty

In a few short years, our campaign to Challenge Corporate Control of Water has become a formidable force:

  • In coalition with allies around the world, we’ve advanced recognition and implementation of the human right to water at the United Nations.
  • We have promoted dramatic shifts in public attitudes – encouraging people around the U.S. to Think Outside the Bottle.
  • Our Public Water Works! campaign is prompting wide-ranging action by U.S. decision makers to reinvest in our water systems.

We are clearing the way for governments to invest in public water by working to move the World Bank to end its promotion and investment in private water projects.

Now, the groundwork is laid and millions are calling for public officials to shut the spigot to water profiteers. We are running highly coordinated campaigns to prevent corporate control and help revitalize, promote and build public water systems the world over. Through our research, analysis and advocacy, we expose and challenge the dangers of water privatization and demonstrate the essential need for democratic control of water.

We work in close partnership with allied organizations and leaders across the globe to do so. We’ve got some of the foremost thinkers and activists on this issue advising us. Meet the Advisory Board for Public Water Works! and the Advisory Board for our international water campaign.

Together we can realize a world where every person has access to water, our most essential resource.

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