Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Europe
Brussels – “The Department of Justice in the United States is pursuing criminal charges against United Water, a subsidiary of Suez Environnement operating in the U.S, and two of its employees for allegedly tampering with E. coli monitoring at its Gary, Ind. wastewater facility, which reduced the amount of treatment chemicals used. The DOJ believes this is a violation of the Clean Water Act.
“Food & Water Europe applauds the Department of Justice for its actions. This indictment shows why our water services should be publicly owned. Private water operators are often based hundreds of miles away from the municipalities they serve. Their first priority is shareholders, not communities. Private operators are known for trimming costs in operation, as well as cutting jobs and raising rates in communities they enter.
“In Europe, we see the same situation. Even though there is strong public resistance to privatization, the public sector is helping the private water companies by providing finance, developing strategies, and even investing in these companies. At the same time, the ownership of private water companies in Europe has become all the more concentrated, overwhelmingly dominated by Veolia and Suez.
“In order to allow cities to retain control over their water systems, the funding gap for water infrastructure needs to be reversed. Instead of allowing private water companies to become increasingly dependent on state capital, Member States and the European Union should prioritize dedicated funding to repair our aging systems so that public leaders aren’t tempted to turn over water operations to private companies.”
Food & Water Europe is a program of Food & Water Watch, Inc., a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, D.C., working to ensure clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.
Contact: Gabriella Zanzanaini, +32488409662, gzanzanaini(at)fweurope.org