One of the most important trends in the water industry is the transfer
of the production, distribution, or management of water or water
services from public entities to private corporations, broadly called
“privatization.” The privatization of water utilities
in the United States has been accelerating as major multinational
corporations have greatly expanded their efforts to gain a larger
portion of the nation’s water service market.
Entrusting a profit-driven company with an indispensable public
service has always been a controversial concept primarily because
of the possible contradiction between short-term profit maximization
and long-term needs to protect infrastructure and natural resources.
The profit motive may provide private water companies with incentives
to avoid conservation and efficiency measures since profits depend
upon volumes of water sold. Also, the privatization of water utilities
has posed risks of rate hikes, negative economic impacts, inadequate
customer service, and reduced local control, and raises questions
concerning public access to information about water systems.
Lack of government oversight and public scrutiny has been one
of the strongest criticisms of water privatization. Without proper
government supervision, privatization will not address issues related
to conservation, water quality, or fair access to water regardless
of income. To ensure public-private water agreements are carefully
designed and implemented to protect public interests concerning
these issues, strong public regulatory oversight should be a fundamental
requirement before a public agency shifts its responsibility for
water utilities to a private entity.
This web site contains the tools necessary for your state to create
legislation regulating the privatization of public water utilities.
These tools include sample legislation, talking points, press clips,
a fact pack, links, and other background information.
We may have other useful materials on this subject, which are not
posted on our web site. Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
or call our office in Madison, Wisconsin, at (608) 252-9800.
If you’ve used this site and found it helpful
or, if you have suggestions about how it could be made more helpful,
please let us know. Feel free to use the sample bill text included
here in your state. If you do, please notify us.