Several cash-strapped municipalities, burdened by costly water improvements, have considered turning their water systems over to private water utilities. Water privatization, however, could have environmentally damaging consequences and contribute to destructive sprawling development patterns.
Rather than let private utilities take over under-funded publicly owned systems, our country needs a clean water trust fund to protect natural resources and keep water systems in the hands of the public. The trust fund should dedicate the limited federal dollars for water infrastructure to the most deserving projects, including green infrastructure. It should not subsidize private utilities that could prioritize earnings over consumers and the environment.