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CONTACT: Food & Water Watch
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500
World Bank Urged to Promote Public Control of Water Resources
New report shows why private water hurts people in developing nations
WASHINGTON - March 10 - The World Bank's encouragement of private investment in water services harms the people living in developing nations, according to a new report released today by the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. Dried Up, Sold Out: How the World Bank's Push for Private Water Harms the Poor documents the many downsides of private sector control of world water infrastructure systems. Water privatization has failed to effectively deliver reliable water services to billions of people across the globe, and the social consequences of this failure include 5 million people dying every year from preventable water-related diseases.
"As a leader in the international development community, the World Bank must help developing countries create strong public utilities that provide adequate drinking water and sanitation systems," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It can do this, not by encouraging the spread of water privatization in those parts of the world, but instead by promoting a regulatory environment that prevents the pollution of waterways and encourages good resource management."
Key Findings of the report include:
- Numerous international goals for getting water to poor countries have gone unmet.
- Because of dangerous water quality and lack of sanitation, gastrointestinal diseases are the leading cause of illness and death throughout the developing world.
- Corporate pressure has caused international institutions and national governments to decrease public investments in water provisions, causing a simultaneous increase in private-sector profits.
- Rather than guaranteeing access to clean and affordable water, the World Bank has promoted measures that will cost consumers more money for water.
- Although the messages are mixed, evidence suggests that some in the World Bank are gradually seeing the problems associated with the private control of water.
- Case studies in Africa, Indonesia and Latin America that illustrate the flawed logic of water privatization and the case for publically owned and controlled water.
Dried Up, Sold Out: How the World Bank's Push for Private Water Harms the Poor is available online at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/dried-up-sold-out.