Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Water
Section title: Water and Air
Section subtitle: Access to clean water and air is a human right
Our position: Greens safeguard water and air to ensure the well-being of future generations and to restore ecological systems.
We face a worldwide water crisis. The demand for water is rising; supply is shrinking. More than 1 billion people lack access to clean water. Many more suffer from water-borne illnesses.
Water is essential to all forms of life. Greens believe that water is a public trust, and that it should be equitably divided and shared, and never privatized. Access to safe, clean water is a human right. Our water policy is also based on the principle of bioregionalism, living within the means of a region’s natural resources.
1. Support policies the promote reductions in individual and industrial water use.
2. Eliminate water subsidies for corporate agribusiness.
3. Mandate that water efficient appliances and fixtures be used in all new construction, and promote retrofitting of existing buildings.
4. Promote climate appropriate landscaping for the given region, including focusing on drought tolerant plants in the western states.
5. Retain rainwater through rainwater collection, swales, mulching, and permeable surfaces for pathways and driveways.
6. Promote drip and rainwater irrigation systems.
7. Promote reuse of the “gray” and “black” waters we produce.
SAFE, CLEAN WATER FOR ALL
1. Preserve and restore our streams, rivers, lakes, bays, wetlands and groundwater aquifers.
2. Promote passive and natural systems for water and waste water treatment such as wetlands. Support the use of storm water management, soil erosion and sedimentation control, the establishment of vegetative buffers, and performance standards for development to mitigate the negative effects of development on our streams, rivers and lakes. Restore and protect of riparian areas. Reduce storm water pollution with storm water technologies that detain, treat, filtrate, and use storm waters near collection points.
3. Mandate pre-treatment of industrial wastes to eliminate the presence of metals, solvents, and other toxics in sewer water. This will reduce the cost of municipal treatment and encourage wastewater reuse. Mandate treatment of toxic waste from existing factory farms and a impose a ban on the construction of new factory farms.
4. Enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") until its damaging effects on water and air quality are fully studied and understood. Permanently ban high volume hydraulic fracturing in sensitive watersheds. Regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act, and require public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing fluids.
5. Support the water and land rights established under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the sovereign claims of Native American nations, pueblos and tribes.
6. Oppose the fluoridation of drinking water.
PUBLIC WATER, NOT PRIVATIZATION
1. Oppose the privatization of water.
2. Support the authority of all countries to control the extraction and development process of natural resources within their national boundaries by international corporations and to receive fair compensation.
3. Support diverse, democratic public water administrations.
4. Assist community organizations to monitor the use of local resources, and to oversee the enforcement of water quality regulations.
CLEAN THE AIR
1. Support and strengthen the Clean Air Act, to reduce the toll of death, disease and environmental destruction from the varied forms of air pollution, including urban smog, toxic air pollution, acid rain, and ozone depletion.
2. Support tough clean indoor air laws, to prevent nonsmoker exposure to toxic secondhand smoke.
3. Ban the manufacture and use of ozone depleting substances as rapidly as possible, both in the U.S. and worldwide. Support and strengthen the Montreal Protocol.
4. Support restrictions on noise pollution, so that people may enjoy the pleasures of silence, and restrictions on light pollution, so that people may appreciate the beauty of the sky, moon and stars at night.
2004 PLATFORM SECTION ON WATER
Water is essential to all forms of life. The Green Party calls for an international declaration that water belongs to the Earth and all of its species. Water is a basic human right! The U.S. Government must lead the way in declaring water a fundamental human right and prevent efforts to privatize, export, and sell for profit a substance that is essential to all life.
We face a worldwide water crisis. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water. If current trends persist, by 2025 as much as two-thirds of the world’s population will be living with a serious scarcity of water. Multinational corporations recognize these trends and are moving fast to monopolize water supplies around the world. They argue that privatizing water is the best way to allocate this valuable resource, and they are scheming to have water declared a human need so that it can be commodified and sold on the open market ensuring that the allocation of water will be based on principles of scarcity and profit maximization.
We do not agree. With water sold to the highest bidder, the rich will have plenty while the poor will be left with little but polluted water, and short term profits will preclude any concern for long term sustainability. We must stop this privatization before the infrastructures become so established that it will be impossible to avoid a disaster of epic proportions.
Governments are signing away their control over their domestic water supplies by participating in trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and in institutions such as the World Trade Organization. The World Bank recently adopted a policy of water privatization and full-cost water pricing.
1. We need strong national and international laws promote conservation, reclaim polluted water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxic and pesticide dumping, control or ban corporate farming, and bring the rule of law to transnational corporations that pollute water systems. Mining and depleting the present underground aquifers must be severely restricted.
2. Greens oppose the privatization of water and demand that the U.S. government pass strong laws with effective enforcement mechanisms to assure a safe and adequate supply of water for its citizens and all life within its borders.
3. New forms of international, bioregional, and community organizations, watershed/ecosystem-based, must be created to monitor and equitably distribute the fresh water necessary for all life on our planet. Decisions about water must be based on an ecosystems approach.
Cycles of intense drought and flooding have demonstrated the need to reorient our priorities in order to achieve a truly sustainable water policy. Over-development and poor planning have resulted in increasing rain-impermeable areas, which compounds the severity and frequency of flooding and pollution in regions downstream. We must begin to understand and apply a holistic watershed approach to managing our water resources. The principle of bioregionalism (living within the means of a region’s natural resources) should give direction to future water policies.
4. Conservation must be an essential part of any water policy. Water conservation also reduces energy consumption and pollution.
To conserve water, the Green Party proposes to:
Mandate water efficient appliances and fixtures be used in all new construction, and promote retrofitting of older buildings.
Promote native landscaping and other drought resistant/ climate-appropriate plants, in order to reduce the need for irrigation.
Promote drip irrigation systems where irrigation is necessary.
Eliminate storm water pollution of our water resources through education of our citizens, enforcement of our laws, and holistic watershed management. Promote storm water technologies that detain, treat, filtrate, and use storm waters near where it is collected.
Promote the appropriate reuse of the “gray” and “black” waters we produce. Use separation techniques, such as dual piping systems where pure water is used for drinking and washing, and reclaimed water is used for lawn watering and similar purposes.
Mandate pre-treatment of industrial wastes to eliminate the presence of metals, solvents, and other toxins in sewer water. This would reduce the cost of municipal treatment and encourage wastewater reuse.
Promote passive and natural systems, such as wetlands, for water and wastewater treatment where appropriate.
Eliminate water subsidies for corporate agribusiness. Higher water prices give agribusiness incentives to conserve.
Assist community organizations to monitor the use of local resources, and to oversee the enforcement of water quality regulations.
Preserve and restore the nation’s natural water features (streams, rivers, lakes, bays, wetlands and groundwater aquifers) that are vital to achieving sustainable use of water resources.
5. Chemicals used in the fluoridation of America’s public drinking water supplies are toxic waste by-products. The majority of these toxic wastes come from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Fluoride accumulates in the human body through ingestion and inhalation. A growing body of research suggests that fluoride may be associated with arthritis, hip fractures, bone cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders. For these reasons, the Green Party opposes the fluoridation of drinking water.