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Landmark Survey Shows For-Profit Water is a Risky Rip-Off



Kudos to Food and Water Watch for holding ground for all of us and continuing to document the premise that if you insert a middleman for the purpose of siphoning/ripping off a "profit" at the cost of cutting corners, marginalizing risks inherent in maintaining the infrastructure required for the common good, pretty soon you have no common good. If it were not so, these would be nonprofits or, heavens to mergatroid, municipally held operations whereby it is the CITIZENS of the municipalities who 'OWN' the resources necessary for life, productive engagement, health, education and - GASP - community well being. This I would submit is part of the fundamental working definition of a healthy society.

There will come a time when the ideologically rabid privateers (used to mean pirates) will be faced with a truckload of documentation and surrounded by consequences of their already failed demonizing theater of the absurd.

There is a bizarre linear disconnect that is characterized by Marco Rubio and others who pound the populace with cries to return to when our nation was great, while at the same time condemning precisely that past with derisive sneers about 'socialist' ways of doing things. Turns out that anything that did work in that glorious past was the result of people working together for the common good to assure access to resources. Imagine that!


While living in Arizona several years ago, our home was on a privately-owned water system, which was a total nightmare. The quality of the water was perpetually questionable and undeniable when the color and smell of the water continuously changed. Another aspect of this private water was the ever-increasing costs...sometimes increasing as often as monthly. The city, county, and state finally investigated after customers complained over and over again with the result that the water became a public utility, which led to high water quality and regulated costs. FDR got it right more than sixty years ago. Water is the new oil and the extraction industries (oil, gas, mining) will be chomping at the bit to buy up water resources and privatize the supply systems. Clean water is a RIGHT not a privilege to be privatized and capitalized on by a moneyed few.


Do not miss signing Elizabeth Warren’s Petition against Pfizer’s tax avoidance move offshore here:



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And Coca-Cola has been doing the same worldwide to the detriment of the impoverished peoples living close to their factories/plants. Anything to make more money.


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Once Obama signs his TPP, TTIP and TISA corporations will accelerate their takeover of water supplies world wide.


The "water industry" (these words would have made no sense not that long ago) would like all water used for personal consumption be purchased in plastic bottles. Such things as water for bathing may become a luxury beyond the means of most people, - as it is already for much of the world.


I came across this article that talks about the higher rates Customers pay when municipal water systems get privatized:

This is what I had to say there:


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Water is a human necessity and should be a right. Here in France there are private providers and recently one of them reduced the water flow for a family in difficulty. The fine was 3600 euros. Cutting off water in any circumstances is forbidden.


The article begins with a statement, "With Flint's water supply still tainted and undrinkable,", which is more alarmist than true. Flint's water supply has been switched back to the Detroit system, so the taint is no longer going in. And the EPA showed a long time ago that if you run the water for five minutes before drinking it then the lead level is low enough to be safe to drink. Safe drinking water advocates have urged people to do that each morning for years.
The rest of the article contains many other alarmist false assumptions. There are many calls for Federal help. But principles of good government tell us that you get better and more affordable results when you use government that is closest to you ('subsidiarity'), local or state government. Call on the Feds and your money takes a long inefficient trip to WashDC, where it is handled by many higher-pay (than local) bureaucrats before it comes back to be spent on some mismanaged work. And the bureaucrats in WashDC are less answerable to the public than your local politicians.
Whether it is a local government agency, a local non-profit or a business, it is still a job to obtain water over there, treat it to make it safe and deliver it to customers. The 'doing' is still a business, regardless of how the doers are organized and answerable. When Food and Water Watch complain about private business costs like 'executive compensation', that is misleading. The comparable public water agency chief does executive work and gets paid. Making water provision public does not get rid of 'executive compensation'. There has to be someone who runs it and gets paid for it. And likewise for the other things that FWW lists along with 'executive compensation'. Public water agencies have those same costs, and are at risk for their own sorts of mismanagement.
I could write some more, but will leave off here. I simply note a caution about declaring receiving clean water a 'human right'. Do that and you morally put yourself on the hook for paying for other people to receive water without them paying anything for it. That is not fair to yourself.


This is not news, nor is it significant. Public and private systems both have problems. Public systems because they often will not invest or maintain their system (this the afore-mentioned backlog of needs.) Private systems because they will try to maximize rates, and need to be well-regulated. But both also have advantages and can provide good service if well run, and the 58% difference in rates would be much less if public systems would raise rates to cover costs and long term infrastructure replacement.

Rather than be subsidized by Federal funds, water systems should be forced to properly operate and repair as necessary and charge what is required to do that. Water is still very cheap, but if some customers need help paying for it they should be helped, not all customers.



Privatization of the Commons is never a good idea. Water rights surrendered to private hands always leads to dangerous consequences. Regulate public employees and hold them accountable for doing their jobs.


It isn't the public employees who need regulation. It is the elected representatives who will not adequately fund the replacement of infrastructure. Which is the whole point of the article.


Elected officials are public employees. So are officials in the EPA. The EPA regulates State employees who implement federal environmental guidelines.
In the Flint crisis, the federal EPA administrator failed to do her job; she allowed Michigan administrators boss her around. Those administrators were more concerned with the Governor's plans and schemes than with the health and welfare of the public.

Yes, it's important to maintain our infrastructure. The republican agenda to defund government at all levels means our cities will crumble around us. The wealthy will not like it, but the free ride is over for them. It's time they start carrying their share of the cost for having safe water, and public health departments that protect the public from disease outbreaks and epidemics.

It is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure State governments are prepared and functioning. With the Flint Legionnaires' outbreak, the State government covered up and took steps to actually hide from federal officials the truth of what was going on.