EPA – Water Shortages – Fracking – Privatization – Who Wins?

Like a flower that has no scent, there are simply some things in this world that science cannot duplicate no matter how hard they try. Water is another. But while flowers give us beauty, water gives us life, without it we die. As shortages become a larger issue, maps abound with predictions of shortages worldwide, and surpluses too. Unfortunately, the maps don’t always concur.

And while the US would appear to be a hair-trigger on the maps, some showing the US as doing just fine, others are not so amicable showing severe shortages in the US within the next 10 years. Other areas that will be hit the hardest include the entire middle east, most of Europe and northern Africa. Two countries would appear to be consistently well off; Russia and Canada.

FYI – the Brazilian guy who has made an engine that will run on water – ummm, maybe not a good idea…

The World Resource Institute is one of the organizations making predictions. An interesting anomaly is the fact that with the exception of the most northern regions of Africa, and the most southern, Africa will be quite well off, abundant with water. I imagine this corresponds with the recent land grabs that have taken Africa by storm because one of the main functions of this Institute is to determine where sustainable food sources will occur. Given Russia is off limits to ‘land grabbing’, Africa was an easy target.

In the US, drought comes and goes, moves and shifts radically. In 2012, the entire midwest was experiencing a catastrophic drought. In 2015, the catastrophe migrated to California, Oregon and Washington. But there are factors that have nothing to do with climate change or with per capita usage, shale harvesting. Fracking consumes water, and lots of it. One well can require upwards of 5 million gallons of water over its lifetime. While there is no absolute data on the number of fracking wells in the US, according to FracTracker, the number is well over 1.1 million.

Quick math – that would mean water use using an average number of 3.1 million gallons per well at 1.1 million wells would equate to 3,410,000,000,000 gallons of water used per year – for fracking. That’s 1/4th the total usage in all of California from all sources per year. Assuming the average household in the US consumes 127,400 gallons per year, fracking would be the equivalent consumption of 26,766,091 households.

Fracking is not just about water – it is about oil – and oil creates an economy based on increased exports and smaller imports – unless oil prices are low, – and then the economy begins a jittery nose dive which cuts jobs – including fracking jobs – which lowers exports.

So who owns the US water? Privatization has been a slow churn, but a churn nonetheless over the last few decades providing about 15%-18% of the US population’s water. The largest private companies include; American Water, United Water, Aqua America, California Water Services, and America States Water.

American Water: AWK – originally a subsidiary of a German company, it was divested in 2008 and is wholly US owned.

United Water: UWR – a subsidiary of Suez Environment, a French company whose majority ownership is held

by GDF Suez, who is considered one of two of the largest privatized water companies in the world.

Aqua America: WTR – a Pennsylvania company providing water to major fracking enterprises

California Water Services: CWT – is a holding company with subsidiaries in Hawaii, New Mexico and Washington.

American States Water: AWR – also based in California.

While the World Bank and the IMF are aggressively promoting privatization of water, historically it has proven to be an affront to the public with massive rate hikes, corruption and gross water contamination charges.

In an over-reach of the water rights in the US we have our favorite friend – the EPA. The EPA recently extended their Clean Water guns basically aiming them at every tributary, stream, brook, runoff, ditch, standing water, rain water, lake, river and pond across the entire US whether on public or private land.  And the repercussions are being felt.  A Wyoming man who was granted all the proper permits to build a self contained pond on his own property for his livestock is being sued by the EPA for failure to meet their clean water rules.  He is being charged a penalty of $75,000 per day.

According to the Financial Statements for the EPA, it’s ‘non-federal’ revenue for clean water amounted to nearly 5 times its federal revenue receipts.  This would be in addition to the $9billion they receive from the Feds.

A massive power grab – wouldn’t it be fun to charge the EPA the same daily rate they charge for noncompliance in Clean Water? The Colorado River sludge was caused by their own negligence, at $75,000 per day for penalties alone, they would already be liable to Colorado for 24 days – $1,800,000 and counting!! Yehah!

Of course, they won’t be liable. But it was a fun 3 seconds…and it doesn’t seem fair they shouldn’t ante up.

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