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Water activists celebrate blue october campaign

Today, international water activists are launching the fourth annual Blue October campaign. Blue October is a month of global grassroots action to challenge corporate control of water and to protect it as a commons, a shared natural resource. 

This past year communities around the world have made significant gains in managing water equitably and sustainably. Water bottlers are on the defensive as public water has been proven in many places to be of better quality. It has been banned outright in one Australian community.

At the World Water Forum, 24 countries signed a declaration recognizing the right to water. The state of Vermont
passed legislation defining ground water as a public trust and requiring permits for large withdrawals. Blue October highlights examples of how communities take control of their water systems.

October was chosen because on October 31, 2004, the people of Uruguay voted
to amend their constitution to recognize a fundamental right to
water. The Constitution now guarantees that water be available to all
Uruguayans, and it bans for-profit corporations from supplying this
public good. This September, additional laws were passed in Uruguay
to strengthen commitment to public water.

Across the globe, one in 6 people lack access to safe, affordable water, and
2 in 5 lack access to adequate sanitation. The United Nations expects
these numbers to dramatically rise–unless actions are taken now.
World leaders will meet in Copenhagen in December to discuss climate
change
. Uncertain water availability and diminished water quality are
some of the most dramatic casualties of climate change, key
discussion topics at the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks.

An international grassroots movement has been growing to defend water as
a commons, a public good and an inalienable right. Citizens have come
together in activists networks such as Red Vida,  Friends of the
Earth International
, the European Water Network and the African Water
Network.

To celebrate Blue October, communities around the world are drawing
attention to water issues in their communities. Issues range from the
encroachment of for-profit companies on public water to citizen
participation in water management. Activities include local and
national events.

These actions are supported by Maude Barlow, former Senior Advisor on Water
to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, “We have
been working hard with the U.N. to ensure responsible stewardship of
our water commons so that water isn’t treated as a commodity to be
sold to the highest bidder, but rather that people and nature receive
their fair share. But heads of state won’t act without significant
pressure from citizen groups. The actions of Blue October are
essential.”

For more information on activities in more than 40 countries, please
contact Anil Naidoo, Project Organizer of the Blue Planet Project at
anaidoo@canadians.org and phone +1 613.882 4405.

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