Today is World Water Day! Tell your legislators that the time to plan for a water emergency is NOW!

How many people were alarmed by the story in the graphic? Rio Verde Foothills, an unincorporated area on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, near Phoenix, has NO water. ZERO. ZIP. The ground water in that area is tapped out. They were subsisting with the use of water haulers, but they are no longer allowed to make deliveries due to the Tier I water shortage on the Colorado River. Communities in CA and across the nation are more vulnerable that we think and 2.2 million people in the U.S. are currently living without access to running water.
  • Action #1: One minute challenge – #MyGroundwaterStory
  • Action #2: Pass H.R.1352/S.916 – Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability Act of 2021 (WATER Act) for water justice.
  • Action #3: Pass H.R.7182/S.3886 – The Future of Water Act – stop Wall Street’s gambling with our water.

Action #1: One minute challenge – #MyGroundwaterStory

We are asking people from around the world to make a 60 second film on the theme of ‘Groundwater, making the invisible visible’. Need more information on groundwater issues? Nice video here.

Action #2: Pass H.R.1352/S.916 – Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability Act of 2021 (WATER Act) for water justice.

In order to protect people’s health and the environment, we need dedicated support for our aging drinking water and wastewater systems. However, the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021 provided less than a tenth of the funding that our water systems need. The WATER Act would restore the federal government’s commitment to protecting clean water for every community by providing $35 billion each year to restore our public water infrastructure. It will also provide:

  • Key provisions:
  • 1) Provides $35 billion a year to drinking water and wastewater improvements;
  • 2) Creates a water trust fund;
  • 3) Creates up to nearly 1 million jobs across the economy and protect American workers;
  • 4) Prioritizes disadvantaged communities with grants and additional support;
  • 5) Expands funding for technical assistance to small, rural, and indigenous communities;
  • 6) Funds projects to address water contamination from PFAS;
  • 7) Requires US EPA to study water affordability, shutoffs, discrimination, and civil rights violations by water providers;
  • 8) Upgrades household wells and septic systems;
  • 9) Helps homeowners replace lead service lines; and
  • 10) Provides more than $1 billion a year to update water infrastructure in public schools.
  • H.R.1352 cosponsors here (Brownley and Carbajal are NOT cosponsors yet.)
  • S.916 cosponsors here. (Feinstein and Padilla are NOT cosponsors yet.)

Minimal call script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I urge Rep./Sen. to co-sponsor H.R.1352/S.916 – the WATER Act.

Minimal email script for cosponsor: Thank you for co-sponsoring H.R.1352/S.916 – the WATER Act., which would help ensure affordable, clean water for all, address water contamination, remove lead pipes from our homes and schools, create jobs, and prevent further water tragedies across the country. Your support also helps ensure that our water infrastructure is funded for future generations and that our water stays in the control of the people, not Wall Street.

Minimal email script for non-sponsor: I urge you to co-sponsor the H.R.1352/S.916 – the WATER Act. Clean drinking water is a human right, and people should not have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink. Yet since the 1970s, the federal government has slashed funding for water infrastructure upgrades, putting the health of entire communities in danger, especially children’s health.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least $744 billion is needed to upgrade our drinking water and wastewater systems over the next 20 years. Nothing short of renewed federal investment in our nation’s water systems is going to help us meet this challenge.

This legislation provides a long-term, sustainable source of funding for safe and clean water including funding so that states, localities, and households can take real action to get per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), lead, and other toxic substances out of drinking water.

The WATER Act will provide affordable and clean water for all, create over a million jobs, prevent further water tragedies, and ensure that our drinking water stays in the control of the people, not Wall Street. Please co-sponsor H.R.1352/S.916 – the WATER Act.

Action #3: Pass H.R.7182/S.3886 – The Future of Water Act – stop Wall Street’s gambling with our water.

In December 2020, following our devastating wildfire season and anticipating another major drought in California, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange launched the world’s first water futures market, allowing financial speculators to gamble on water prices in California. This is dangerous. Water is a human right that should benefit the people, not financial speculators who’ll profit off of climate change-driven water shortages and drive up prices on a resource that we all need to live. (Read about the Bass brothers here.) From increased water prices to the loss of small, family farms, the only ones that would benefit from water futures trading are financial speculators.

  • HR 7182 cosponsors here (Brownley and Carbajal are NOT cosponsors yet.)
  • S 3886 are here. (Feinstein and Padilla are NOT cosponsors yet.)

Social media toolkit here.

Minimal call script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I urge Rep./Sen. [___] to co-sponsor H.R.7182/S.3886 – the Future of Water Act.

Minimal email script for non-sponsor: Sen. Warren and Rep. Khanna introduced H.R.7182/S.3886 – the Future of Water Act. on World Water Day, an international day to advance the human rights to water and sanitation. This legislation would ban water futures trading and affirm that water is not a commodity.

Allowing financial speculators to engage in water futures trading could:

  • Increase water prices;
  • Encourage market manipulation and excessive speculation; and
  • Lead to the loss of small farms.

I urge you to co-sponsor legislation that would stop financial speculators from gambling with our water now. Please support the Future of Water Act to ban water futures trading and affirm that water is not a commodity!

Contact:

  • (Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinsteinemail, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my rep./ senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

RELEASE: REP. RO KHANNA AND SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN INTRODUCE BILL TO PREVENT LARGE CORPORATIONS FROM PROFITING OFF WATER AND WATER RIGHTS

Access to clean and affordable water is a basic human right and must be protected

Washington, D.C. — Today, Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led a bicameral group of colleagues in introducing the Future of Water Act to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to prohibit futures trading of water or water rights and protect our country’s water. Water is a basic human right that must be managed and protected as a public trust resource. 

As climate change has increased the severity and frequency of drought in our country, large corporations should not be profiting off of water or water rights. Water should be affordable, easily accessible, and guarded from markets prone to manipulation and speculation that could cause real-world price increases. The announcement of the water futures trading received condemnation from the global water community, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water who stated: “Water is already under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands and grave pollution from agriculture and mining industry in the context of worsening impact of climate change. . . I am very concerned that water is now being treated as gold, oil and other commodities that are traded on Wall Street futures markets.”

Wall Street’s interest in financial derivatives based on water and water rights could lead to severe real-world water price spikes due to market manipulation and/or excessive speculation. Prohibition of water and water rights futures trading stops this dangerous speculation and protects American families and agricultural producers.

“Every American should agree: Clean, drinkable water is one of our most basic human rights,” said Rep. Khanna. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Warren to prioritize human needs over corporate profits. Large companies and investors should not be allowed to use an essential public resource for their own gain. We have to stand together to protect our water.”

“Water is a human right and Wall Street shouldn’t be allowed to use this vital resource to make profits at the expense of hardworking Americans,” said Senator Warren. “My bill with Rep. Ro Khanna would protect water from Wall Street speculation and ensure one of our most essential resources isn’t auctioned off to the highest bidder.”

“With the climate crisis delivering historically devastating droughts across the West, it is clearer than ever that water should be treated as a scarce, essential resource, not a commodity for Wall Street and financial speculators,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “This groundbreaking legislation would put a lid on dangerous water futures trading before it creates a crisis, and it reinforces the fact that water must be managed as a public resource, not a corporate profit center. We thank Senator Warren and Representative Khanna for showing true leadership in the fight to protect access to safe, affordable water for all.”

“IATP welcomes the Future of Water Act’s amendment to the Commodity Exchange Act to exclude water as a tradable derivatives asset class under the regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission,” said Steve Suppan, Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy. “According to one of the CFTC’s core principles, derivatives contracts should not be traded if the underlying cash market for the commodity is susceptible to market manipulation. The CFTC has allowed the water future contract to be traded when the underlying cash market for that contract is price opaque and therefore susceptible to manipulation. The Future of Water Act will help protect water as a public good by preventing its price manipulation in the futures market.” 

“No one should be allowed to gamble with the Great Lakes – but that’s exactly what Wall Street is trying to do by trading water futures,” said FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood. “Allowing speculators to bet on water as a commodity like oil is a world-class threat to our world-class Great Lakes.”

Last year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced it had certified the world’s first water futures contracts, which allow investors to purchase and sell futures contracts based on “water rights” prices in California. Market speculators are interested in financial derivatives based on water and water rights. Large contract holders would have a strong incentive to manipulate the water futures market for profit. Too much concentration in water markets by massive passive investors could lead to physical water hoarding and price increases. The Future of Water Act sends a powerful message that access to clean and affordable water is right and not a financial instrument to gouge American families, farmers, and ranchers.  

House cosponsors include: Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), André Carson (D-IN), ChuyGarcía, Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL),Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

Senate cosponsors include: Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

Over 250 organizations have endorsed the Future of Water Act including Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Biological Diversity, Demos, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth United States, Greenpeace USA, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Indigenous Environmental Network, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Family Farm Coalition, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Open Markets Institute, People’s Action, PolicyLink, Public Citizen, Inc., and the Sunrise Movement. A full list of organizations supporting the legislation can be found here

A copy of the House legislation can be found here.

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