Public Take Over of Private Water Companies

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from NCPA,

Water fights are simmering in small towns across the country this summer as rate increases irk residents and spur local governments to try to take over privately-owned water systems. Municipalities in Massachusetts, California and Texas have recently filed lawsuits or set ballot measures in a bid to gain control of their water systems. Private firms have defended their rate increases — saying they have had to spend money to improve the infrastructure and are entitled to make a profit, says the Wall Street Journal.

Residents of Ojai, a small town in Southern California, will vote later this month on whether to fund the purchase of the water system serving them. In Blue Mound, Texas, the mayor has vowed to appeal a July court ruling that prevented his town from operating its water system. Also last month, a trial concluded in Superior Court in Worcester, Mass., in a lawsuit filed by Oxford, Mass., over the sale of its water infrastructure. A judge’s ruling is pending.

Using Environmental Protection Agency data, the group estimated that between October 2007 and October 2011 the number of Americans served by privately-owned systems fell 16 percent, while the number served by public ones rose 8 percent.

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