At least four million people in Chile’s capital city, Santiago, had their water turned off from Saturday through Monday.
The shutdown affected households in 27 of the city’s 35 municipal districts. It’s the latest chapter in what has become an extended fight about water in Chile, putting the country’s population in competition with its highly influential mining sector. Most of Santiago’s six million residents woke up last Saturday morning to dry taps after the privately operated provider of water to the Chilean capital shut off the city’s water supply. Who is the private corporation that owns the water in Chile? None other than AES Corporation, an old friend to Enron. AES is a fortune 500 company based in Arlington, Virginia. It doesn’t even claim to own any water rights, and yet it does so in 13 countries.
Why should anybody care about who owns other country’s water rights? Because this trend is coming to the USA, where it all started. Be aware and pay close attention to your water and who may come to own it, and how the private owners can shut it off if they want more money. The recent huge increase in Lake Geneva’s utility rates could be a drop in the proverbial bucket. And what of Kunkletown Pennsylvania? There the Nestle Company has filed for a permit to extract 73 million gallons of water from their aquifer over the next ten years. Nestle is likely to get the permit because the community (the public) did not find out about the deal until the very last minute. All the meetings were in secret because of privileged negotiations. Sound familiar? The Geneva Shore Report was created and continues because of such rotten moves, so many times supported by uninformed or unknowing small town representative government.
Too late for stopping the presses last week.
The most outrageously democratic meeting in Walworth County occurred in Town of Linn last Tuesday night. In a reversal of a decision made the year before, a majority of attending voters at the meeting voted Susan Polyock’s position to return to be what it once was. She is, once again, both treasurer and clerk of the town. It was a 27 to 24, vote but those once a year meetings are binding and the results definitive. It’s all about showing up. It’s not like nobody knows that the meetings are scheduled, although it did take a bit of time for the GSR staff to figure out the pure democratic nature of the annual meeting. Nobody on staff will miss next year’s get together. Also, the Town of Linn Board was trusted with five hundred thousand dollars, as a limit on property or building projects not calling for referendum. Another good move on the part of the collected electors. Town of Linn, over all communities around the lake, has proven to be a ‘straight arrow’ when it comes to doing exactly what it says it’s going to do and the way things are going to be done.
That’s, in no small part due to Jim Weiss, board chairperson and Susan Polyock, Clerk and Treasurer…..Again.