Officials attending the World Water Forum in Turkey this week issued a statement that essentially said there's not enough water to waste.
That much was clear to one Canadian reporter attending the conference, who found that her press pass wasn’t enough to get her access to bathrooms with running water — reserved only for VIPs.
But it was less clear to two protesters from a California group, who were hosed by local police with water cannons — presumably the most “cost effective” way to respond.
But the water in those cannons is especially precious to Turkish residents, who are running out of water, according to Al Jazeera.
Turkey has experienced periods of extreme drought in recent years, and multinational companies have a stronghold on increasingly scarce water resources. Most locals drink bottled water, but that’s not a luxury everyone in Turkey can afford.
During the conference, Turkish engineers demonstrated against large firms that they say benefit cities by exploiting rural resources. Their view is that water talks need to focus on conservation, not privatization.
"We believe our drinking water should be managed so we don't need to buy it in bottles and it's freely available," lawmaker Ufuk Aras told Al Jazeera. "We were not born on this earth to help companies add to their profits."