The tide may be turning for water privatization.
Water supplies have already fallen out of private hands in developing nations such as Mali, Uruguay and Bolivia — and now the French are following suit.
Paris has pushed the trend forward by announcing that its water will go public for the first time in over a century, starting on Jan. 1, 2010.
The move follows similar measures enacted in over 40 other French communities in the last decade.
Privatized water services in the French capital will end when the city terminates its contract with Suez and Veolia, two of the world’s largest water companies.
At issue are increased prices and decreased service, as well as corrupt business practices that eventually saw the jailing of both corporate executives and government officials in Grenoble’s water district.
Suez was also ordered to repay Grenoble in 1999 for overcharging. In 2002, water there reverted to local control.
Suez and Veolia also run privatized water services in Argentina, Bolivia, Eastern Europe and the Philippines.
“Is Water Privatization Trend Ending?”
Inter Press Service, June 30, 2008