Mapping Blue Gold

April 4, 2009

Timeline of events related to water resource management

1954 “Pickens, an AAPG member since 1954, was branded a corporate raider by newspapers, magazines, networks and opposing managements back in the 1980s when his firm, Mesa Petroleum, made hostile takeover bids for companies he felt were undervalued and mismanaged (source).”

1996 “The World Water Council (WWC) was established in 1996 in response to increasing concern from the global community about world water issues. Its mission is to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient management and use of water in all its dimensions and on an environmentally sustainable basis. The WWC has been granted special consultative status by UNESCO and ECOSOC.”

1997 The First World Water Forum was held in Morocco.

1999 T. Boone Pickens (who owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more) and a group of more than 100 landowners formed Mesa Water to develop groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer under Roberts County in the far northeastern Texas Panhandle.

2000 The Second World Water Forum was held in The Netherlands.

2000 “In 2000 the Pantanal, which has particular characteristics and species nonextant in other parts of Brazil, was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO). In the same year UNESCO also declared it part of the Natural Patrimony of Mankind. These two titles came at a critical moment, when various factors were jeopardizing the stability of the ecosystem, which contains the planet’s largest flood plain. According to the Ministry of Environment, the selection of world biosphere reserves depends upon their capacity to accommodate the conservation of biodiversity with the economic utilization of their resources on a sustainable development basis.”

2001 “Rules of Capture: In 1997 the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority announced it had purchased 43,000 acres of water rights in the area just south of Pickens’ ranch in Roberts County, Texas, and planned to develop the water field. Then, the city of Amarillo bought 71,000 acres of water adjacent to Pickens’ ranch, with plans to develop the resource in 25 years. “These developments got my attention,” Pickens recently told the EXPLORER. “The CRMWA and Amarillo basically put other landowners on notice they were going to start draining us. I felt we had no choice but to start selling our surplus water or lose it to drainage. “Under the rule of capture we would have no recourse to prevent CRMWA and Amarillo from draining the reservoir under our land.” In Texas all surface water is considered public, but groundwater is privately owned. Under the rule of capture a landowner can pump water without regard for his neighbors. The region of the Texas Panhandle that encompasses Roberts, Lipscomb, Hemphill and Ochiltree counties is one of the last remaining untapped portions of the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the United States. In other regions — from just south of Lubbock all the way to the South Dakota border — the aquifer has been tapped for over 50 years, primarily for irrigation. This four-county section of the Texas Panhandle, however, is too rough to farm, and the aquifer has remained untouched. Of the total 2.22 million acres in the four counties, only about 100,000 acres have been irrigated. Initially, Pickens approached CRMWA, which provides water to 11 communities in the Texas Panhandle and south plains, and the city of Amarillo, and offered his water rights for sale as well. They declined, however, so Pickens then went to his neighbors to ask if they would join in his efforts to market and sell the water rights under their land. He formed Mesa Water Inc., and currently has about 150,000 acres with 3.3 million acre-feet of usable groundwater under lease — twice as much water as CRMWA and Amarillo. In addition to banning together with neighboring ranchers, Pickens has purchased an agency agreement covering 65,000 acres of land from Quixx, a subsidiary of Southwestern Public Service Company — the same firm that sold 43,000 acres of water rights to CRMWA. Under the agreement Pickens’ group will market water from the Quixx land. (source).”

2003 The Third World Water Forum was held in Japan.

2005-04 The Region C planning group, responsible for water planning for much of North Texas, added the Mesa Water project to its list of alternative supply sources. Mesa Water is also listed as a possible supply source for North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), Dallas Water Utilities (DWU), Region L and San Antonio Water System (SAWS).

2006 The Fourth World Water Forum was held in Mexico (2006).

2005Paraguay and the United States: Improbable allies.” The Economist.

2005 “Since 2005 there have been allegations in the media that the U.S. planned to intervene in Cuidad del Este a Paraguayan city of about 200,000 people located in the tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and/or seeks to control the Guarani Aquifer, a large fresh-water reserve which lies beneath those countries. The United States claimed that its interest in Cuidad del Este is solely to support programs to create jobs in the formal sector there and that the United States has no interest in the Guarani Aquifer, which the U.S. government recognizes as an important resource for the inhabitants of the region (source).” The book and film Blue Gold were criticized by Michael E. Campana in WaterWired for the “Tenuous (really!) connection between possible Bush family land purchases in Paraguay and the taking of ground water from the Guaraní aquifer, the largest fresh ground water source in the world, and arguably the largest fresh unfrozen water body in the world. So how would the Bushes and/or the USA get the water from the aquifer to the USA?”

2005 “In December, 2005, Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, signed an act establishing the Pantanal Biosphere Reserve Management Council, charged with the task of formulating and monitoring an action plan for the reserve. The document was signed at the opening of the 2nd National Environmental Conference, which took place in Brasília, the Brazilian capital.”

2006 Fourth World Water Forum

2006-10-13 “The Prensa Latina paper reported that George W. Bush had purchased 98, 842 acres on the Acuifero Guarani in northern Paraguay, between Bolivia and Brazil. This news was also reported in Asuncion, Paraguay on Oct. 12, and by Upsidedownworld on Oct. 11. earlier George H.W. Bush purchased 173, 000 acres in Paso de Patria, the Chaco area of Paraguay. Jenna Bush has spent time in Paraguay as a representative of UNICEF. (source).”

2007 “Pickens was reported to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for allegedly destroying wetlands and taking water from the Canadian River through Mesa Vista Ranch’ water features including seven miles of water works that include small lakes and manmade streams. The case was dismissed. The first experimental creek was a PVC waterline buried in an area where experience had shown quail hunting to be sporadic. The year after the waterline was created, quail hunting in that area was consistently good. These days, Mesa Vista’s manmade “creeks” consist of 38 miles of underground PVC pipe that feed small waterholes spaced every 1,000 feet or so (source).”

2007 “A political shopping spree may have accelerated the efforts of Dallas billionaire T. Boone Pickens to hijack sweeping government powers of eminent domain. The tycoon wants these extraordinary powers to benefit his private utility companies: Mesa Water and Mesa Power. The $1.8 million that Pickens spent on Texas’ last two elections made him the state’s No. 5 individual donor—up from No. 12 in 2002. Pickens wants condemnation powers to lay 320 miles of utility lines from suburban Dallas to the Texas Panhandle—with or without the approval of the owners of the private land that he would excavate (Texans for Public Justice).” T is for ‘Taking’: Did Texas Sell T. Boone Pickens Powers of Eminent Domain?

2008-06-12 “T. Boone Pickens owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. As far as Pickens is concerned, he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “(Berfield 2008).” Business Week

2009-02-04 – Brazilian radio and TV launch a campaign on the public utility “Aplauso” which aims to demonstrate to society the importance of water in people’s lives and the need to take care of this natural resource.
2/4/2009 – Seminário Edital evaluate capacitação of resource managers in water
2/4/2009 – Reporting to the list of participants selected for or II Course Monitoramento da Qualidade da Água
26/3/2009 – Paulo Varella as director takes posse da ANA
26/3/2009 – New director takes posse da ANA Nesta fifth-feira
25/3/2009 – NAA launches new on relatório situação da água e gestão two water resources in Brazil
25/3/2009 – Conselho National Water Resource Plan discusses water-da Bacia do Araguaia Tocantins produced pela ANA
23/3/2009 – Events marking the beginning gives elaborate document of norteador Ações na Bacia do Rio Verde Grande
23/3/2009 – Diretor da ANA participates chat da Fundação Bunge
2009-03-15 20,000 people were expected at the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul.
2009-03-19 ANA (Agência Nacional de Águas) made two presentations at the The 5th World Water Forum: Bridging Divides for Water
18/3/2009 – Brazil e da CPLP countries discutem water policy and cooperação mútua
18/3/2009 – Stand Coordenação do Brazil to discuss and prepare projetos Apresentações no Fórum Mundial da Água
18/3/2009 – Machado: “As public policy setoriais da questão devem include água em suas patterns ”
18/3/2009 – Comitê do Rio Doce já tem novos membros eleitos
17/3/2009 – Mais uma edição do hotsite Águas de Março é haul
16/3/2009 – Machado apresenta da América do Sul demands no Fórum Mundial da V Água

AFP. 2009. “Water forum seeks way through worsening crisis.” 2009-03-15. Istanbul.

2009-03-29 – Paulo Varella was named as Director of ANA (Agência Nacional de Águas) the Brazilian, National Water Agency that implements and coordinates the management of shared and integrated water resources and regulates access to water, promoting sustainable use for the benefit of current and future generations.

Key words: Aqüífero Guarani, Guarani Aqüifer,

Webliography and Bibliography

2005. “Paraguay and the United States: Improbable allies.” The Economist.

AFP. 2009. “Water forum seeks way through worsening crisis.” 2009-03-15. Istanbul.

Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke. 2002. “Who Owns Water?” The Nation.

Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke. 2002. Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. New York: New Press.

Berfield, Susan. 2008. “There Will Be Water.” Business Week.

Bozzo, Sam. 2008. Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water.

Lohan, Tara. 2009. “Blue Gold: Have the Next Resource Wars Begun?” The Nation. .

Marra, Ana Paula. 2006. “Brazil Drafts Conservation Plan for Pantanal, a Mankind’s Patrimony.” Brazil Magazine. 2006-01-06.

Texans for Public Justice. 2007. ” T is for ‘Taking’: Did Texas Sell T. Boone Pickens Powers of Eminent Domain?