To Matt Damon on World Water Day

Editor’s Note:  Food and Water Watch has asked Matt Damon to help support removal of elements of the Water for the World Act that will harm its effectiveness. Here’s why:

Dear Matt,

In co-founding, it’s clear that you have made a personal, long-term commitment to providing clean water in developing countries.

Because of that commitment and in honor of World Water Day, we are asking you to join Food & Water Watch in opposing the privatization and commodification of water. Specifically, we are reaching out to you to support our position regarding the Water for the World Act, currently making its way through Congress. 

At Food & Water Watch, we believe that water is a human right, a public good and part of the global commons. We believe it is ethically wrong to profit from the most essential human need and then to export those profits from the community where they are garnered.

Currently in Congress, the Water for the World Act could sustainably provide 100 million people with first-time access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015. However, the bill is flawed. We have proposed alternate language that fixes the bill and would like your support.

This devastating flaw opens the way for public-private partnerships (P3s), which endanger fragile communities through privatization of municipal water systems, increased costs, decreased service, reduced transparency, and deteriorating infrastructure. In brief, these public-private partnerships are impractical and dangerous alternatives to traditional municipal piped water systems.

P3s have a bad track record. Our research shows that water is provided most fairly and efficiently as a public good. Eighty-five percent of Americans receive their household water from publicly owned and managed water companies; this ensures that decisions are made locally, that revenue is reinvested at home and that information is available to the public. In fact, when privatization is proposed, U.S. citizens react strongly because they recognize the moral offense of privatizing water.

Especially given the current financial crisis, U.S. development aid in the water and sanitation sector should be dedicated to strengthening and expanding transparent and accountable public water systems. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, 80 percent of the major water privatization operations either failed or were contested.      

We respect the strong fieldwork that is doing to provide water in developing countries and we invite you and your colleagues to join our global network of allies in standing against the corporate profiteers and to fight for public water. Will you stand with us for the Water for the World Act and against dangerous P3s? 


Darcey O’Callaghan

International Policy Director

Food & Water Watch

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photo credit: thanks to Siebbi via flickr for the image

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Loesje vB
Loesje vB2 years ago

Food & Water for life. Thanks to celebs and Matt Damon who support the World Act Congress.

Kristen R.
Kristen R.5 years ago

One more reason to love Matt Damon. Good for him for raising awareness of this basic human right.

Chris P.
Chris P.5 years ago

After carefully reading the Food and Water's message, it has come to my attention, that the undeveloped countries are in great need of clean water, but will this be achieved sucessuffly? However I pray it will be done.

Janice P.
Janice P.5 years ago

I agree with Jewels. I don't remember when this idea for privatization of almost everything became the chic thing to do, but it has gone much too far, and it needs to be scaled back before EVERYTHING is a privilege and not a right.

Jewels S.
Jewels S.5 years ago

I agree. We should fight to stop the corporate take over of our natural resources. If I was in charge, I would limit the size of corporations.

Robert & Carmen S.
Carmen S.5 years ago

Water is like Air. You need it to live and everyone should be able to get clean water and fresh Air.

Chris P.
Chris P.5 years ago

I urge for clear water. I know it will be done. Regards, Chris

charmaine c.
Charmaine C.5 years ago

Clean air will be next! Wonder how we'll pay for what we breathe?

Lynette B.
S.L. B.5 years ago

Some more resources that just arrived today:

"The Story of Bottled Water":
(from the same folks who brought us 'Story of Stuff' & 'Story of Cap & Trade')

"Are Greedy Water Bottlers Siphoning Your City's Drinking Water?"

"Future Earth 2025" (45 min. film)
"A futuristic CGI vision of our planet in 2025. Will fire tornados, 60-mile dust storms, locust invasions & water wars be our future if fresh water supplies continue to drop? Or is that only in the movies?"

(Definitely some fear-mongering, but it's based on credible info by leading scientists of some of the worst-case scenarios if climate change continues unchecked [which it is right now]).

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.5 years ago

natural resources should not be owned by big corps.