Update: The agreement was approved on 9/27/17 An extension of Minute 319 to the 1944 US-Mexico Water Treaty has been named Minute 323 and may soon go into effect. Much of the actual agreement is being kept from the public (according to a CAP Action Brief, this is due to an embargo from the…
Water conservation deserves much more skepticism than you might think, especially when the heirs to the Walmart fortune are involved.
Recently, a few related water agreements have been made with the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) to address the water level at Lake Mead and the state of Arizona’s continued access to Colorado River water. Of the more troubling facts is that one of the agreements involves the Walton Family Foundation, run by billionaire Walmart owners and family.
The Walton Family Foundation’s activities around water have been almost exclusively to develop a water market.
People were outraged at the way the Resolution Copper Mining (RCM) finally achieved their land exchange in Arizona. It was the underhanded way Senator John McCain got the legislation passed that fueled the anger, but what many are not aware of is that the swap may not have been possible without the efforts of certain environmental groups. Conservation efforts functioned as currency for Resolution’s access to land, so the land grab could also be called a green grab. Green grabs are taking place in Arizona and beyond, especially around water. The Resolution Copper land exchange provides us with a way to understand the utility of the partnerships corporations forge to gain access to coveted resources.
Framed as an environmentally responsible, innovative, and exceptionally collaborative approach to water sharing, Minute 319 built a foundation for water banking and exchanges even while it incorporated water provisions to restore the ecosystem of the Colorado River Delta, where the river used to meet the Gulf of California. Clearly the ecosystem needs attention, yet proposed solutions function to shift responsibility away from irresponsible water users, concurrently enabling commodification of the precious liquid.