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When I scan my Inbox each day, I single out emails from Food & Water Watch because they keep me up-to-date on back-room shenanigans that affect relevant issues that are of concern to me... like the food I buy in the grocery store! And when they ask me to do something, I do it.
Paul Keleher
November 4th, 2009

New Orleans, LA

In 2000, the city of New Orleans proposed what would have been the largest water privatization contract in the nation. The 20-year, $1.5 billion deal attracted the attention of the two of big water heavy hittersVivendi (now Veolia) and Suez’s United Water.

New Orleans

Fortunately, public opposition stopped the deal before it ever began. How did community members gain enough clout to defeat two corporate giants? They got organized.

A powerful community coalition of 90 organizations, including churches, civic organizations, seniors groups and environmental groups, worked to defeat the privatization proposal. The Water for All Campaign, ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 100 played key roles in building community power.

Volunteers took the fight out into the open using car caravans, lawn signs, door-to-door education and rallies. And they organized a local referendum that gave voters the power to approve or reject any privatization contract worth more than $5 million.

In March 2002, voters overwhelmingly approved the popular referendum, and a few months later, the New Orleans Water and Sewerage Board voted to reject privatization.


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