Stop the Privatization of Water in the United States

Target: The Obama administration

Goal: Stop the privatization of water in the US and invest in the public sector.

Water privatization is a reality in the United States. Moving responsibility for a human necessity from an entity which is accountable to the people to one that mainly answers to its shareholders certainly has negative consequences.

The government is directly responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of its people; big corporations, often international ones with no particular interest in the welfare of the people affected (other than their capabilities as consumers), are not. Private corporations are not required to maintain the same level of transparency that government entities are. They are businesses seeking profit more than anything else; therefore, one can expect that the quality of service will differ depending on potential profitability. Low-income areas that use less water and occasionally might present problems with bill collection would not be as attractive to invest in as more profitable areas.

Supporters of this privatization argue that increased prices (when public water sectors go private) will encourage people to use less water which is beneficial for our environment. First of all, it is highly questionable that private water companies would encourage water conservation, as that would decrease their revenues. And even if they did, does it make sense that the price hike will only end up in the pockets of multi-million dollar corporations?

Supporters have also argued that privatization of water would enable a more efficient operation, and that competition would drive prices down. But in actual practice, the water market is not particularly competitive and as statistics have shown, private water companies do not successfully lower prices. The organization “Food and Water Watch” has compiled a report on the water and sewer charges around the US, and found that on average, private corporations charged 33% more for water and 63% more for sewer services than the same services provided by the government. Privately run corporations increased the cost of drinking water by 75% in Delaware, and respectively, sewer service charges increased by 154% in Texas. The report also found that in areas where water was privatized, residential water rates have almost tripled on average, and workforces were cut by 34%.

Privatization has largely been explained by the unsatisfactory water infrastructure in the US: it is about 80 to 100 years old and in need of major repairs. The Obama administration has promised $6 billion towards these repairs, but the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it will in fact cost $300 billion. This petition will encourage Obama to invest more in water during his second and last term, to protect the people from rapidly increasing prices, and to provide jobs. Let’s not forget that water is a human right, and should not be left in the hands on those seeking to make a profit.

PETITION LETTER

Dear President Obama,

As you know, water privatization is becoming more and more common around the world, and sadly, we are even experiencing it here in the United States. Moving responsibility for a human necessity from an entity which is accountable to its people to one that mainly answers to its shareholders certainly has negative consequences.

Private water companies seek to gain profit more than anything else, potentially making access to water dependent on level of income. Low -income areas that use less water and occasionally might present problems with bill collection would not be as attractive to invest in as more profitable areas. In areas where water was privatized, residential water rates have almost tripled on average, and workforces were cut by 34%. I urge you to not let water become a matter of class, and to invest more in national water infrastructure. This would not only create jobs, but ensure fair water and sewer rates for all Americans equally.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Pixabay

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4 Comments

  1. Janice Sprow says:

    Here in the US we are supposed to have certain unalionable? rights– life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Water is one of the most essntial things need to live. There are many pople and organizations working really hard to try to give people access to clean water in developing countries. It is already ludicrous that here we often have to pay for the priveledge of dringking little plastic bottles of water. *** Bring back public water fountains and water provided to all— We should have PUBLIC — police, firefighters, education—- and Yes Healthcare too. Not big corporations making huge profitls at the expense of the people.

    • Trish Walker says:

      I agree about those little plastic bottles of water … but that is a CHOICE people make. If these greedy SOBs make our public water supply a commodity, we’re totally screwed. …”you want to live, you pay this amount” … What if you can’t afford it? You die? What the hell are our public officials thinking?

      Can you imagine having to pay exorbitant prices for your basic nessecity of life? I don’t even want to think about that.

  2. Marion Clemens says:

    Government should concentrate on providing and protecting what is essential and necessary for ALL and put a stop the money hungry, power seeking individuals in our world, inculding corruption!

  3. Trish Walker says:

    Legal definition: inalienable rights – that which is inalienable cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one individual to another. The personal rights to life and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are inalienable. Similarly, various types of property are inalienable, such as rivers, streams, and highways.

    Just by legal definition alone, water – a BASIC nessecity for life, shouldn’t be used as a PROFIT COMMODITY. PUBLIC Water Authorities are NOT supposed to make a profit. They’re supposed to deliver water to its citizens, and charging to cover their costs of operation. Maybe if local governments got their act together and stopped wasting tax dollars, they might not feel tempted to look for others ways to make money. And that means US.

    IF privatized, who gets to figure out the price? What next, after water? Does someone figure out a formula – height/weight times the type of job you do, to come up with a way to make money with the air we breathe? Scary thought, huh?

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