When you think about your home’s water supply, you probably don’t realize the technicalities and legalities of the entities who manage and operate the city’s public water system. Virtually all city water resources are owned and maintained by public and governmental organizations.
Ownership and Maintenance of Local Water Resources
In some cases, a city will transfer ownership and maintenance responsibilities of public resources to a private company. And although the public sector would still control the access and the infrastructure, the private company would take over all operational and maintenance duties. This control and maintenance of a local water resources and systems is called water privatization, and it is a common occurrence in many towns.
The term, “privatization” is a broad term in relation to city water contracts. There are several types of water contracts, including asset sales and management contracts. An asset sale is the most direct form, but there several other variables involved as well. In an asset sale, a private company could buy the entire water system from a government entity or establish that system. A management contract is another type of water privatization. This is when a private company is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system.
Examples of Water Privatization:
❖ A company works together with the local public sectors to improve water quality and implement a water treatment program.
❖ A company joins forces with the local municipality to build and operate a water treatment plant or wastewater facility.
❖ A private company uses local water resources to manufacture bottled water for a profit.
Water privatization is still a controversial practice since the public sector has been in charge of our local water resources for so long. Depending on the intent of the companies doing business with the local government and public sectors, the practice can be either beneficial to the community’s right to water, or it can affect long-term costs and environmental conditions.