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:
In co-founding water.org, 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 water.org 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?
International Policy Director
Food & Water Watch
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photo credit: thanks to Siebbi via flickr for the image