Food & Water Watch Celebrates Ten Years of Deception on Private Water
In late 2015, Food & Water Watch turned 10 years old and celebrated with a blog post on the group’s “10 most important victories.” In the post, FWW touts its efforts to block communities from considering private water solutions, citing four examples of so-called “victories” against private water.
Unfortunately, just as we have seen previously in FWW’s now-debunked favorite case studies, the group tries to rewrite history, only telling half the story in these examples. While we hate to pop their party balloons, we are compelled to set the record straight.
- FWW celebrates Akron, Ohio as a success story, yet fails to mention that, less than four months after FWW worked to block a private water solution, the federal government sued the city for violations of the Clean Water Act due to its dysfunctional sewer system. Akron was eventually forced to pledge nearly $900 million of its own money to fix the sewer system.
- In the case of Fort Worth, Texas, FWW is claiming a “victory” despite the fact that the decision not to consider a private water solution has resulted in environmental violations, unsafe drinking water, and regular rate increases over the past several years.
- Given Grand Rapids, Michigan’s success with public-private partnerships for its museums, arena, medical centers and a convention center, Mayor George Heartwell mentioned in his 2010 State of the City Address that he was interested in pursuing similar partnerships in other areas, including management of the city’s sewer and water systems. The Mayor dropped that idea in May 2011 before a feasibility study was even pursued. Yet somehow FWW still tallies this as a big “victory.”
- Finally, in Trenton, New Jersey, the city developed a plan to work with a private water company to deliver water to surrounding townships. After activists blocked the sale, in order to make up for lost revenue, Trenton significantly raised water rates and property taxes. And, ironically, Trenton’s water situation has gotten so dire that the city has to buy water from New Jersey American Water, the very company that wanted to invest millions in the city’s infrastructure in the first place. This doesn’t seem like much to celebrate, but that hasn’t stopped FWW from hailing Trenton as a great success.
So yes, ten years have gone by since FWW was founded, and all they can point to are “wins” in fights that never took place, and victories resulting in Clean Water Act violations, unsafe drinking water, and massive water rate and property tax hikes.
We hope FWW doesn’t mind if we refuse to raise a glass to that.