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Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500

Food & Water Watch Joins With Local Groups to Oppose Potential Privatization of Milwaukee’s Water System

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, today joined forces with the Keep Public Our Water (KPOW) coalition at a rally at City Hall to call on the Milwaukee Common Council to pass a resolution permanently suspending the proposal to lease Milwaukee's Water Works and conclude its inquiry into privatizing the city's water system. Faced with budget pressures, the city of Milwaukee had been considering leasing its water utility to a private company for 75 to 99 years in return for a one-time payment of up to $550 million to $600 million dollars. In addition to Food & Water Watch, members of the KPOW coalition include AFSME Council 48; Campaign Against Violence; Midwest Environmental Advocates; Milwaukee Inner City Communities Allied for Hope; Milwaukee Renaissance; Milwaukee Riverkeeper; Water Works Local #952 and the Wisconsin League of Voters.

"The Milwaukee Water Works, a well-run and well-maintained public utility, needs to remain public," said Jon Keesecker, an organizer for Food & Water Watch. "Access to safe, affordable water is vital to Milwaukee's families and businesses and that cannot be guaranteed if the city's water is privatized. While Milwaukee's financial problems are indeed serious, privatizing the city's drinking water would be the wrong choice for Milwaukee."

On May 28, members of the Milwaukee Common Council announced that it would temporarily "shelve" the lease proposal, although privatization would remain on option. Food & Water Watch and KPOW are calling for a permanent end to the privatization talks.

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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