American Water Spends Big in South Jersey Election

Total spending amounts to over $50 per water customer

Published Nov 1, 2023

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Clean Water

Total spending amounts to over $50 per water customer

Total spending amounts to over $50 per water customer

According to recent state election spending reports, New Jersey American Water has spent over $100,000 on an election in a small rural town in South Jersey where the company is seeking to take over a public water and sewer system with under 2,000 customers. 

A November 7 election in Salem will give voters a chance to decide the future of the publicly-owned system. The state’s Water Infrastructure Protection Act (WIPA) grants municipalities the power, under certain circumstances, to sell off public assets without getting the approval of residents. The months-long petition drive restored the democratic rights of Salem City residents to have a voice in this process.

Opponents of the privatization deal argue that it leads to steep rate increases, reduced service, the loss of local jobs, and an overall loss of local control.

In the months ahead of the vote, city residents have been facing a wave of water shutoff notices – many of which are being delivered to tenants whose landlords have failed to pay their bills on time. Some residents believe the chaotic and disruptive nature of the shutoffs is intended to boost support for the corporate takeover.

“American Water’s spending spree is a clear sign that they stand to make huge profits even in small communities like Salem,” said Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Kate Delany. “Towns all across the country have learned the hard way that water privatization is a bad deal for residents and local businesses. Surrendering control over valuable public infrastructure isn’t a solution – it is just a way to create new problems.”

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Press Contact: Peter Hart [email protected]

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