Time to commoditize

            If you will pay one hundred to a thousand times, more for water in a bottle, what would you pay to have it brought to your home? Sounds kind of dumb doesn’t it. Water is already brought to your home? Aha, but not by professionals like Suez, Veolia, RWE and Nestle Corporation! They can provide you with water 24/7, cleaner and purer than anything you get now from the government ran operation you now have! And after all wouldn’t a professional company be able to bring you water more economically than the government?  Not necessarily.

            In this age of who can do it cheaper/ better many communities are seriously considering hiring corporations to take over their community water supplies. In doing so giving up public control of rates, their tax developed property and their input on how that system is run. Atlanta for one, sold their water company to a private concern, only to fire the company two and one half years later because the water coming out of the taps was brown and they had raised the price.

             Historically at one time in America, all water was controlled by private companies. The Manhattan Company for example in New York City, founded by Aaron Burr that would later become Chase Manhattan Bank, was reported to be one of the most corrupt and incompetent water companies  ever hired. It took a cholera outbreak and dry fire hydrants in the great New York City Fire of 1835 to finally bring government into the picture, to make sure water was available and safe to drink.

            Yet in cites all over the country, faced with massive rebuilds of systems and the additional costs of maintaining them, communities are looking to turn back the clock so to speak and hire private water companies to manage and own their systems. These companies are some of the biggest corporations in the world and in what they call  “Public-Private –Partnerships,”  rather than privatization,  water becomes not yours; but commoditized. When this happens everything changes.  

             A private company makes money selling water. Forget about conservation. Forget about green fields not being developed because the system can’t handle more houses. Forget about having any say or getting any answers regarding what happens to your cities water supply. This is a business that now answers to shareholders, not the public that they serve. And complaining about it now, is about the same as crying over spilt milk.      

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