Letter to the Editor: Many Questions About Privatization of Water

I became very frightened and angry when I read about this bill [SB 432 – Privatizing Control of Municipal Water]. I have many questions. Why is it necessary to privatize all of our municipal water in the state? What are the benefits to us? Since we were told we could have no details on the transfer of ownership, I have had to make some assumptions.

I looked up a company, Aqua America (a potential buyer), and found they are the country’s biggest supplier of water to the gas and fracking industry. Once given ownership of municipal water districts they have full and complete access to all of the water used by that district. That includes aquifers, lakes and streams.

Does this mean that Aqua America (possible buyer) has the right to draw water from Lake Michigan and sell it out of state?

Does this mean we will see big price increases? In researching Aqua America, owners of many public water systems throughout the country, we found that water prices have increased dramatically.

Aqua America is not interested in owning properties in states that will not allow surcharges.

Because of enough public pressure about water quality and high prices Aqua America exited Florida in 2013.

Ft. Wayne, Indiana, had similar problems and concerns and decided to spend $67 million in 2013 to rid themselves of Aqua America. Ft. Wayne residents can now expect savings of about $129 a year on average for their water. They will also be able to save another $120-240 because Ft. Wayne has added water softening agents to the water. In Bensalem Township, Penn., residents saw their water bills increase from the average of $105.63 in 1999 to an average of $667 in 2014, an increase of 354 percent.

My final question: Is this what we can expect in Wisconsin when we turn our water over to corporations that consider shareholders their bosses?


Colleen Malmen

Baileys Harbor, Wis.

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