The Price of ThirstGlobal Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos

The Price of ThirstGlobal Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos

Karen Piper

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816695423

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could not afford the water from your tap? What if your water bill was a third of your monthly income, and you had to choose between water and food? This may sound like a fantasy, but it is already happening to millions of people around the world. A handful of multinational water corporations with mafia-like powers are gradually shutting off the taps for people who cannot pay, causing global social unrest. It has led to a revolution in Egypt, border disputes between Iraq and Turkey, social upheaval in South Africa, and street fights in Greece. Today, these same corporations are quietly buying up U.S. water supplies while no one seems to notice. The Price of Thirst examines the colonial history of these companies, as well their current expansion across the globe. Traveling to six continents and a dozen countries, Karen Piper spent seven years investigating who controls the planet’s water and how it is distributed. Talking to CEOs, activists, environmentalists, and climate change specialists, she paints a frightening picture of how the world’s water is being divvied up. The Price of Thirst takes readers on a trip around the world to visit both the “hotspots” of water scarcity and the “hotshots” in water finance. What she discovers on her journey will make you rethink what is coming out of your tap—and whether or not it will be there tomorrow.