It takes less than a week for a human to die from lack of water. Water is the single most important substance on the planet; without it, life could not exist. It's as necessary for humans as oxygen. Unfortunately, the amount of fresh, clean water that is readily available for human use is diminishing at an alarming rate. Currently, one sixth of the world's population, over one billion people, do not have access to adequate drinking water. What's more, corporations and other private entities are buying up the world's fresh water and charging for it. If this is allowed to continue, many people will not have access to what fresh water remains because they will not be able to afford it.
When natural resources are privatized and exploited for profit, they disappear in a frighteningly short time. In the span of about 300 years, over 90 percent of America's vast, one billion acres of old-growth forest was destroyed, and most of what remains is slated for future logging. This is the same unchecked gluttony that will devour the world's usable water supply unless something is done to stop it.
From a business perspective, buying water rights makes sense: everybody needs it and always will, so if a company gets its hands on a lot of it, they will have a very high, sustainable demand for an infinite amount of time. However, many people who need water will not be able to afford it.
In developing countries where this has already happened, people are often forced to use unclean, disease-infested sources because that is the only water that is free. According to the World Health Organization, over 3.5 billion cases of diarrheal disease occur every year as a result of unsafe water. Of these, 1.8 million people die annually, the majority children under five. If privatization of the world's fresh water supply continues unhindered, these numbers will increase dramatically.
The private interests that are buying up