Promoted by Rosi
On Thursday the Assembly State and Local Government Committee is hearing the fast-tracked bill A-3628/S2412, a bill that deprives voters of their existing decision-making role regarding the control of our local water systems. This bill eliminates the existing democratic process that protects communities from the politically or profit motivated privatization of a water system. This bill threatens not just the democratic process but the affordability and quality of water — a fundamental right for all.
The language of this bill justifies the privatization of water systems on the premise that many of them are in poor condition and could be better managed by private entities. That premise has no basis in reality. Empirical studies do not provide clear support for private entities providing superior water service – either in terms of costs or quality.
The assumption that private companies have the financial resources to improve water management systems negates the reality that profit based companies pass the costs of infrastructure on to users with less oversight, control and input from the public. If the municipalities do not have the money to invest in water systems, is the answer to sell it to the highest bidder, often a foreign owned company, or find the revenue to invest in a critical piece of public infrastructure? It may fill a budget gap one year but at the cost of control of our water. Is that worth it?