Water, Not for Sale

Letter to the Editor 

In the Aug. 12 front-page article “Water’s Flow From Private Hands,” William Booth said that “there is no reason why privatization” of our most vital human and planetary resource — water — cannot work because the United Kingdom’s experience won high marks.

According to Public Services International, between 1989 (the year water was privatized) and 1995, water prices increased 106 percent in the United Kingdom, while profits for the privatizing companies soared 692 percent. As a result, twice as many households have had their water cut off after privatization as before. Further, between 1989 and 1997, five corporations engaged in water privatizations in the United Kingdom were found guilty of 128 environmental offenses.

Such results are the rule, not the exception, when water is sold to the highest bidder. Americans are right to be skeptical.