World News: French Water Rights Use Protests Overflow Into the Streets

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The recent unrest in France over French President Emmanuel Macron’s determination to push through his Pension Reform, forced cancellation of King Charles, first official state visit, and spawned even more protests over water management in the southern region.

The two conceptions of the use of water that physically clashed in the Deux Sèvres on Saturday 25 March demonstrate the complexity of the issue that will oppose supporters and detractors of mega-basins and more broadly the use of water as a common good. Objectively, it appears that each party puts forward valid and credible arguments.

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For the former, the iniquitous uselessness of conserving such a quantity of water when it runs out; For the latter, the need to maintain this system of water reservoirs in order to serve productivism agriculture solicited to feed humanity. And implicitly emerges the need, repeated many times, to change our habits and patterns of water consumption.

Surely. The formula flourishes to the point of being on everyone's lips and having become a catch-all expression brandished like a redemptive sword. But what does it really mean to change the way you consume water? Reduce the time of our showers? Reduce flush capacity? Opt for a less consuming agriculture ? Develop less greedy plants?

Access to Water

There is   no shortage of solutions, but it is  perhaps above all necessary to  accept the fact that with   constant, even increasing, needs for water, humanity, whose numbers are increasing over the centuries (the world population is estimated at 9.7 billion inhabitants in 2050) is facing the drastic scarcity of water.

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In view of this observation, changing consumption patterns   would above all mean revolutionizing our contemporary societies so that all humanity has access to water* and those  who take it  widely learn how to save it. In theory, the challenge is raiseable. But rooted in old economic cycles  on which many societies thrive, the expected revolution is unlikely to  ever erupt.

And without a  revolution on a  global scale, it is above all a crisis of global subsistence that risks tearing apart a humanity forced to survive. In a context of imposed sharing  of the resource. What to choose with this in mind between irrigating a wheat tank and meeting the essential water needs of an average household (Hygiene and food)?  

The question will quickly prove to be difficult. It could certainly initially be settled financially via some kind of compensation   mechanism, but in the long term ? When the tap water will no longer flow into the kitchen but the corn field adjacent to the house will be irrigated, where will be  the priority, who will be in measure to ask and explain it?

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By going beyond all political and economic considerations, the issue of water management returns humanity to the very essence of its survival in an imperative context of economy and sharing of the resource.  

The question of water therefore goes beyond all the political, industrial, economic and national considerations that have prevailed until now but which nevertheless continue to punctuate our relationship to the use of the latter. For perhaps for the first time in its existence, humanity is faced with an unanswered question.      

*Nearly 2.2 billion people lack safely managed safe drinking water services*, 4.2 billion lack safely managed sanitation services and 3 billion people do not have safe drinking water services. don't even have basic handwashing facilities.

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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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