The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:,info(at)fwwatch(dot)org,Seth Gladstone -,

Bill to Prevent Privatization of Milwaukee Water Works Would Protect Vital Public Resource

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter


"Last week, State Representative Frederick P. Kessler (12th Assembly
District) introduced a bill to the Wisconsin State Assembly that would
forbid the privatization of the Milwaukee Water Works. A publically
controlled utility, the water works has been the subject of intense
debate since October 2008 when the Milwaukee Common Council took
initial steps toward leasing it to a private company as a means of
alleviating the city's budget crunch.

"The plan to hand over the city's drinking water system for 75 to 99
years in return for an upfront payment from a private buyer is no
solution to Milwaukee's financial problems. Around the U.S. and
abroad, private utility companies routinely take over struggling public
water systems, only to jack up rates while service suffers. No
community should trust the claims of a corporation claiming to offer
quick and easy solutions to complex civic issues, especially when such
companies are beholden to shareholders, not customers.

"Food & Water Watch and the Keep Our Water Public Coalition
applaud Representative Kessler and urge the Wisconsin State Assembly to
protect Milwaukee's water from exploitation by private interests by
signing it into law. We also urge the Milwaukee Common council to take
immediate action to pass a resolution against privatizing the city's
Water Works in order to ensure safe and affordable water for all

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