Could Baltimore City Water Be Headed Towards Privatization?

Posted By: Tommy Tompsett

Erroneously high water bills may lead to the privatization of the Baltimore City's water system which is currently run by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW).  When asked about privatization, Mayor Catherine Pugh praised DPW ‘s new smart meter technology, "Baltimeter," and suggested that she will give it a try for “a period of time.”  The Baltimore Brew chronicles Mayor Pugh's press conference and her disclosure that the City has been in talks with American Water, the country’s largest publicly-traded water and wastewater utility.

 

Food and Water Watch, a non-profit who "champions healthy food and clean water for all by stand[ing] up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate[s] for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment," advises that privatizing local water and sewer systems usually does far more harm than good for our communities.  To read Food and Water Watch's "Facts and Figures" on water privatization, please click here.

 

Forbes has somewhat different take than Food and Water Watch.  While Forbes acknowledges "privatization itself is not a panacea. The key to effective privatization is maintaining competition. Private firms can quickly become inefficient and wasteful when sheltered from competitive market forces. That being said, in many cases water privatization can improve infrastructure, lower costs and provide residents with the clean, safe water they expect."  To read Forbes analysis of water privatization, please click here.