What’s wrong with Water Privatization?

Water privatization is when private companies operate or even purchase public water systems in hopes of profiting from what should be a public good and a basic human right. It’s often the result of municipal budget shortfalls, particularly when it comes to paying for the high costs of operating and maintaining aging water infrastructure. In Milwaukee, Riverkeeper helped start a coalition called “KPOW” or Keep Public Our Water to stop a privatization scheme here in Milwaukee several years ago (2008-2010) that would have resulted in us losing public control over our water supply for 75-99 years for a single up-front payment that could have paid for some police and potholes.

Access to critical water services, such as clean drinking water and effective sewer systems, are at risk as private companies vie for control over our public water supplies. AB 554/SB 432 makes it possible for communities to transfer water utility management from the public sector to the private sector, which means out-of-state and potentially multi-national companies will assume control of our public water supplies with less oversight. Water privatization most often leads to declining quality of service, higher water rates, less accountability and oversight (private companies do not face elections or have to share information), and a loss of public sector jobs.

Not just across the country, but across the entire globe, water privatization has failed to increase the access to or quality of water supplies for communities time and time again. AB 554/SB 432 is now threatening to do the same in Wisconsin.

For more information on water privatization, check out the website from Food and Water Watch’s Water Privatization: Facts and Figures.

Take Action Now!

In Wisconsin

Take action now in demanding that Wisconsin invest in public water systems to ensure they are operating effectively and are able to continue to provide clean water to our citizens. Keeping local control over our water supplies is a critical to our economy. Our water should run through the hands of our communities, not private out-of-state or foreign companies!

Call or write to your legislators and urge them to support public ownership of public water supplies and oppose SB 432 and the privatization of our water.