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Don’t be Fooled by FWW

This blog, focused on allegations about cost and control, is the fourth in a series examining FWW’s most recent misleading claims.

Food & Water Watch claims that private water options take control away from local communities, resulting in “frequent and massive rate increases.” Private water operators cannot and do not increase rates without public input and approval.

No matter what the model – public or private – the main driver of costs is investment in infrastructure to provide better service. These investments depend on a community’s specific infrastructure needs – water mains, treatment facilities, etc. Further, factors such as the water source, service area elevation, and service area density also greatly impact the cost of service. Thus, comparing rates of one system to another is like comparing apples and oranges – one system may need millions in investment while another may only need routine repairs.

Time and time again, FWW gets it wrong on rates and costs, relying on information taken out of context and ignoring key facts. For example, FWW recently cited a survey of the largest water utilities in the Great Lakes region to try to prove that private water companies charge more. What they fail to mention is that the survey itself explicitly warns against this kind of comparison, cautioning that the survey is “not representative of all systems” and that “comparisons of rates are strongly discouraged,” as many factors influence water costs and rates.

FWW conveniently ignores these warnings and continues to twist data in an attempt to substantiate its anti-private water claims based on ideology rather than reality.

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