Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Privatization Is Not the Answer': Grave Warnings as Wall Street Vultures Circle Puerto Rico's Water System

Popular
'Privatization Is Not the Answer': Grave Warnings as Wall Street Vultures Circle Puerto Rico's Water System
San Juan, Puerto Rico on Dec. 2, 2017. Prayitno / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

Previous attempts by Wall Street financiers and government officials to privatize Puerto Rico's water system have produced "disastrous results," but private equity vultures are exploiting the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria to plow ahead with yet another privatization effort—one that environmentalists warn could further imperil the island's public water infrastructure.


"While the water system urgently needs repairs and upgrades following the destructive Hurricane Maria, privatization is not the answer," declared Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter on Tuesday after Puerto Rico's Public-Private Partnerships Authority officially kicked off the process (pdf) of partially privatizing the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA), a government-owned entity responsible for water quality and management.

"Responsible, public control of the system is the best way to ensure that every person on the island has access to safe and affordable water and that PRASA operates in the service of the people, not in the service of profits," Hauter added. "With the privatization of Puerto Rico's water authority, we expect Wall Street profiteers and corporate water operators will seek to extract wealth without addressing the long-standing issues with the commonwealth's water system."

Citing the Puerto Rican government's newly unveiled bid to begin the privatization process, Food & Water Watch notes that island officials are looking to "crack down on 'illegal' access to water, a troubling sign that the bid is focused on profits, not remedying the systemic issues plaguing the water system that is hampering accessibility to safe, clean drinking water for all Puerto Ricans."

While access to clean water on the island appears to be improving slowly in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many Puerto Ricans are still being forced to boil their water, and the island's infrastructure still faces systemic problems that existed prior to last year's Category 4 hurricane.

According to a report (pdf) released by the Natural Resources Defense Council last year, "99.5 percent of Puerto Rico's population was served by community water systems in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act" in 2015.

Privatization, Hauter argued on Wednesday, would exacerbate these systemic issues while leading to "excessively high water bills for households and businesses already struggling to rebuild in the wake of the climate disaster."

"PRASA can't afford another privatization failure now," Hauter concluded. "It should instead focus on basic services and ensure that every Puerto Rican has access to safe public water."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less