Tag Archives: New Jersey

Universal Water Access ~ “Muddled Policy…”

The following article, “Is Water A Right, Commodity, Or Service?”, Sara Jeromewritten by Sara Jerome, is taken from Water Online, posted June 12, 2015

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Is water a commodity, a service, or a right? Recently, the debate has raged.

Daniel Van Abs, a water policy professor at Rutgers University,raised that question in a recent editorial published in NJ Spotlight. Van Abs is a water policy professor at Rutgers University who served as senior director for planning and science with the New Jersey Highlands Council, a water-protection implementation body. He has since retired from state government.

VAN ABS TO CROPVan Abs posed this question in his post: “Is water, as the U.N. states, a fundamental human right? Or is it a commodity that must be purchased at the going rate? Or is it a public service, in which the focus is on satisfying a social goal for provision of general needs?”

WATER HUMAN RIGHT TO CROP“Our history shows us that water supply has aspects of all three, which makes for a muddled policy setting. What do we do when basic water services exceed a customer’s ability to pay? As water rates rise to address the costs of system rehabilitation, enhanced drinking-water treatment, and source-water protection, we need to make sense of this mess,” he continued.Image result for Detroit water service
DETROITDetroit officials sparked protests last year by shutting off water service for thousands of delinquent customers, a move that prompted questions about whether shutoffs violate human rights. “The city, which continues to close as many as 400 accounts a day, has been widely criticized for its actions,” CBS News reported. United Nations advisers have argued that Detroit violated human rights during a frenzy of water shutoffs.

Image result for Detroit water serviceCities other than Detroit have also used water shutoffs to handle ratepayer delinquency. “In Michigan, Hamtramck, Warren, Pontiac, Eastpointe, Romulus and other cities have shut off delinquent customers as a way to improve collections. Elsewhere, so have other big cities such as Baltimore and St. Louis,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

Van Abs noted that New Jersey is no stranger to ratepayer delinquency. “New Jersey has areas of high poverty that have lost most of their industrial water customers. And much of the state’s water-supply infrastructure is old, if not decrepit,” he wrote.

Maude Barlow: “Water a right, not a commodity”, uploaded on Mar 18, 2009 – Canadian water activist Maude Barlow, leading protesters at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, says access to water is a fundamental human right.

To Van Abs, there are problems with calling water a guaranteed public service. “The costs could be handled like many other public services (such as police or courts), through the property tax, with local governments paying the water utility to provide the service. Doing so would remove incentives for efficient water use, unless provisions are made to limit the service by household to only what is necessary. Just imagine the problems with this approach. Government would have to track the number of people per household to ensure that a single-person household and a five-person household are provided for equitably,” he said.

There are also problems with calling water a commodity, since it means water shutoffs if customers cannot pay. “Clearly, this approach is not socially acceptable for those of limited means,” Van Abs writes.

Image result for water a guaranteed public serviceWhat if water were treated as a basic human right? For utilities to be empowered to treat service as such, policy changes would be needed in many places, including New Jersey.

“The problem is that New Jersey has no routine system for helping poor households afford water (and sewer) services. For residential energy, the NJ Board of Public Utilities regulates essentially all providers, and New Jersey has established several programs for temporary and long-term assistance. The same is not true of water supply utilities, since there are hundreds of government and privately owned water utilities in New Jersey. Establishing a unique household assistance program in each of these utilities would be an administrative nightmare, and some are too small or serve too poor an area to provide this aid,” Van Abs wrote.

“A broader approach is needed. New Jersey needs to take a hard look at how its poorest households will maintain access to water utility services as water and sewer rates increase. We shouldn’t allow the Detroit question to become the New Jersey problem,” Van Abs wrote.

Image credit: “running faucet,” Steve Johnson © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPED

This is a very serious universal topic – one that affects each and everyone of us.  Let’s make it a priority to be pro-active – do research, access local resources, attend meetings, lobby your Members of Parliament. There is a plethora of related videos on Youtube – well worth viewing!  

http://www.wateronline.com/doc/is-water-a-right-commodity-or-service-0001?

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IS YOUR LIFE LIKE A CUP OF COFFEE?

LIFE LIKE CUP OF COFFEE

This YouTube video combines beautiful pictures, inspiring music, and a touching story to help empower people to live more fully. This was uploaded Feb. 6, 2009 and already has over 3 millions viewers!  From http://www.VideosMotivational.com

RAINBOW1GIMPTEXTThe happiest people don’t have the best of everything. 

They just make the best of everything.

LIFE COFFEE6Do you complain about the stress in your life and at work?  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves – that is the source of your problems and stress. 

 ROSEGIMPTEXTWhat wonderful words for all to live by ~
the world would certainly be a happier and safer place!

WATERFALL.jpgGIMPTEXTHold the thoughts from this video close to your heart
and really savor your next cup of coffee!!!

Please share this with people you care about.

STOP OBAMA ~ KEEP WHALES & DOLPHINS SAFE

I am forwarding information I received from Victoria Principal for Oceana wavemaker@oceana.org

Unless the Obama administration reverses course, the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to the New Jersey border will be opened up to high-intensity seismic air gun exploration for offshore oil and gas.

This means that dolphins and whales will be subjected to constant dynamite-like blasts about every 10 seconds, 24-hours a day, for weeks and months on end.

Even the government admits that the industry’s airguns could injure hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and disrupt marine mammal feeding, calving, breeding, and other vital activities more than 13.5 million times.

There’s no time to waste. Urge the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior to abandon the government’s proposal to allow seismic air gun testing in the Atlantic!

Dolphins and whales rely on sound for feeding, communication, and navigation. If we don’t act now, these sensitive creatures will be exposed to an intense acoustical assault.

Seismic exploration involves arrays of high-volume air guns that are towed behind ships, continuously firing intense impulses of compressed air — almost as loud as explosives.

Opening up the Atlantic Ocean to seismic exploration for offshore oil and gas would cause incredible harm to ocean wildlife like whales and dolphins and to multi-billion dollar fishing, tourism, and recreational industries that support hundreds of thousands of American jobs. All of this just to make it easier for oil companies to find new sites in our oceans for offshore drilling.

Please do your part to stop this devastatingly harmful act and sign the petition!!!

We simply cannot allow it. If you live in the United States, click below to tell the Secretary of Interior to abandon plans to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic.  I am writing to Oceana to ask if they will amend their info fields in the petition to allow people from other countries to help.

http://act.oceana.org/letter/l-seismic-vp/?akid=2584.962452.8zJuCr&rd=1&source=mailing&t=2&utm_campaign=seismic&utm_medium=mailing&utm_source=advocacy