The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, (202) 683-2500

Cash-Strapped Communities Suffer as Corporations Target Water Systems

New Food & Water Watch Report Reveals that Service Suffers While Costs Skyrocket Under Water Privatization


new report released today by Food & Water Watch, a national
consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., reveals that many
cash-strapped communities across the country are experiencing rate
hikes and a decrease in public services after selling their water and
wastewater systems to private corporations. Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources
highlights cities and towns across the country that have sold their
water systems to private companies to offset budget deficits in an
increasingly unstable economy, and the negative economic and
environmental impact of water privatization on those communities.

"Private companies claim that they provide more efficient service and
that they can upgrade systems at a lower cost than their public
counterparts," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food &
Water Watch. "Such claims are nothing but spin. Private water companies
are beholden to shareholders, not the customers who rely on them for
this vital natural resource. The delivery of public water should never
be a profit center for privately held corporations."

Highlights of Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources include:

  • State-by-state comparisons of public and private water bills that
    reveal that private companies charge consumers as much as 80 percent
    more for water and 100 percent more for wastewater services than their
    public counterparts.
  • How private companies inflate costs, cut corners to profit
    shareholders and ignore environmentally sustainable practices that
    might undercut profits.
  • That private water companies target water systems in poor,
    vulnerable communities with little political capacity to oppose the
    sale of their water.
  • Case studies of communities in Ohio, Indiana, California, Florida,
    Pennsylvania and elsewhere that have been negatively impacted by
    privatization and/or have canceled service contracts with private
    entities to provide better service to consumers.
  • Food & Water Watch's solutions to local and national water
    infrastructure challenges, including the need for dedicated federal
    funding for water and wastewater systems.

Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources is available at:

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500