Archive | Water

British Columbia says no to water privatization

Three-quarters of British Columbians oppose privatization of drinking water.

71% trust their community’s local government more than the private sector to provide safe drinking water.

Almost nine-in-ten (88%) agree with the statement that "water is a basic public service and should always remain in public hands."

"On Vancouver Island, where there are serious threats to public water, this should be an issue in the November 19 municipal and regional district elections" said Barry O’Neill, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who are campaigning to stop water privatization.

Bluegrass FLOW. For Local Ownership of Water

Lexington Kentucky wants to buy back their water company from German conglomerate RWE. The courts just ruled against a vote on this based on a technicality. Bluegrass FLOW continues to fight for Lexington to own their water. They document how the current private ownership has, among other things, resulted in billing errors and lost revenue for the city.

Bluegrass FLOW 

And it’s going on in Pennsylvania too. 

Water battle heading to arbitration

Lehigh County, two townships oppose sale to Pennsylvania Aqua.

The fight to keep a local water company away from water-giant Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. will be assigned to an arbitrator this week as a result of protests filed by several municipalities and more than 200 customers. 

It’s clear. The people want public ownership of their water.

Bolivia’s War Over Water

The Bolivian Water Revolt In early April the often-forgot country of Bolivia, tucked away in he Andes, grabbed the world’s attention when the city of Cochabamba erupted in a public uprising over water prices. In 1999, following World Bank advice, Bolivia granted a 40 year privatization lease to a subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation, giving it control over the water on which more than half a million people survive. Immediately the company doubled and tripled water rates for some of South America’s poorest families.

The people fought back and in a landmark battle defeated Bechtel, drove them out of the country, and took back control of the water. Their successful struggle has been an inspiration worldwide for those fighting for clean, low-priced water for all.

The Water Barons

The Water Barons The explosive growth of three private water utility companies in the last 10 years raises fears that mankind may be losing control of its most vital resource to a handful of monopolistic corporations. In Europe and North America, analysts predict that within the next 15 years these companies will control 65 percent to 75 percent of what are now public waterworks.

This Center for Public Integrity mini-site details the worldwide push by multi-national corporations (often fronted by the World Bank and IMF) to privatize water, something which generally leads to higher prices and reduced water quality.

Water privatization forced by World Bank

World Bank forced water privatizationThe rush to privatize water continues unencumbered, despite its unpopularity among residents worldwide who are affected by it. Countries faced with large debts are forced by the World Bank and IMF to privatize water. Water deregulation is a common demand of the World Bank and IMF as part of their loan conditions. In 2000, out of 40 IMF loans distributed through the International Finance Corporation, 12 had requirements of partial or full privatization of water supplies.

They also insisted on the creation of policies to stimulate "full cost recovery" and the elimination of subsidies. African governments, such as Ghana, increasingly give in to pressures for water privatization. In Ghana, the World Bank and IMF policies forced the sale of water at market rate, requiring the poor to spend up to 50 percent of their earnings on water purchases.

As Vandana Shiva writes in Water Wars, "The water crisis is the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth."

This is from the amazingly comprehensive Water is Life "class website on water privatization and commodification, produced by students of Geography 378 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA, May 2004." They have a huge amount of information and links on water privatization, check it out.