“We are the greatest generation of cowards in history” ~ Marc Edwards, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, VA Tech

“The world is running out of fresh water. There’s water everywhere, of course, but less than three per cent of it is fresh, and most of that is locked up in polar ice caps and glaciers, unrecoverable for practical purposes…Water demand, on the other hand, has been growing rapidly—it tripled worldwide between 1950 and 1990—and water use in many areas already exceeds nature’s ability to recharge supplies. By 2025, the demand for water around the world is expected to exceed supply by fifty-six per cent” ~ The New Yorker, April 8, 2002

“The essential nature of water, and the increasingly desperate struggles to maintain access to it, calls attention to broader questions about the erosion of the public space and the rights and guarantees which flow from it. As more and more services and goods fall into private hands, the psychological space of what can be imagined as collective rights, or what we might term “the commons,” shrinks ever further. Taking water back under community control with a demand for universal access can lead us to imagine a much greater expansion of the commons, and to seek democratic control in areas of our lives far beyond. Unless communities organize, resist, and demand democratic control and unconditional access to basic goods, we’re all living in Flint, Shoal Lake, and Cochabamba. Some of us just have the luxury of not knowing it yet” ~ Marcela Olivera

Burkina Faso. Photo: Vince Isner

Agua Tartan

In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly declared safe and clean drinking water and sanitation a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other rights. Yet little has been done to enforce it, leaving billions at risk of water insecurity in the 21st century. The Agua tartan symbolises the crucial importance of water to human development and wellbeing. Eight lines intersect to form nine boxes. The centre box represents water; the surrounding ones the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals addressing the needs and rights of the world’s poorest. This tartan is named in honour of the guerreros del agua (‘water warriors’) of Cochabamba, Bolivia, who wrested control of the municipal water system after the central government, under pressure from international development institutions, sold it off to an investment consortium led by Bechtel Corporation.

Scottish Tartan Register No. 10620; UK Patent Office No. 4022095