The quality of drinking water can have lifelong effects on an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and financial wellbeing. But funding to maintain and upgrade our municipal water systems has plunged on a per capita basis since the ’70s, and private water companies are looking to capitalize off of vulnerabilities that a $35 billion a year funding gap presents.
Today, MuckRock and Food & Water Watch are announcing a joint project to identify and shed a light on efforts to privatize the country’s public water systems. The organizations will be submitting public records requests to the largest water systems in the United States - from Puerto Rico to California and in between - looking for the latest corporate attempts to absorb community water supplies into their revenue streams.
“America’s access to affordable and safe drinking water is vital to the nation’s health and future,” said Beryl Lipton, Projects Editor at MuckRock. “We hope people participate in this project and help us hold our communities accountable for the infrastructure and outsourcing they use to provide it.”
“Private water companies are seeking to profit off of our disinvestment in our water infrastructure,” said Mary Grant, Public Water for All Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch. “We know that when private water operators come in, the public loses control, rates can go up, and service can worsen. The corporations are accountable to their shareholders, not our communities.”
The organizations are soliciting feedback on the water systems to focus on here. You can also contribute through the assignment embedded below.
Image via Food & Water Watch