Public Values

Communities suffer as corporations target water systems

New report shows service suffers, costs skyrocket under water privatization in USA.

Executive Director Wenonah Hauter speaks for Food & Water WatchWASHINGTON, February 25 — A new report released today by Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group based in Washington, DC, reveals that many cash-strapped communities across the country are experiencing rate hikes and a decrease in public services after selling their water and wastewater systems to private corporations. Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources highlights cities and towns across the country that have sold their water systems to private companies to offset budget deficits in an increasingly unstable economy, and the negative economic and environmental impact of water privatization on those communities.

"Private companies claim that they provide more efficient service and that they can upgrade systems at a lower cost than their public counterparts," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "Such claims are nothing but spin. Private water companies are beholden to shareholders, not the customers who rely on them for this vital natural resource. The delivery of public water should never be a profit center for privately held corporations."

Highlights of Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources include:

• State-by-state comparisons of public and private water bills that reveal that private companies charge consumers as much as 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for wastewater services than their public counterparts.

• How private companies inflate costs, cut corners to profit shareholders and ignore environmentally sustainable practices that might undercut profits.

• That private water companies target water systems in poor, vulnerable communities with little political capacity to oppose the sale of their water.

• Case studies of communities in Ohio, Indiana, California, Florida, Pennsylvania and elsewhere that have been negatively impacted by privatization and/or have canceled service contracts with private entities to provide better service to consumers.

• Food & Water Watch's solutions to local and national water infrastructure challenges, including the need for dedicated federal funding for water and wastewater systems.

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food.

Links and sources
  Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources

Posted: March 03, 2009

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