The Delaware Valley Journal published an article detailing the water rights of Chester Water Authority and the dangers of privatizing a public water system. Author and founder of In the Public Interest, a research and policy center, Donald Cohen spoke to Save CWA about the loss that people experience when a publicly owned entity is sold to a for-profit corporation. Whether discussing California’s water rights of the Colorado River, Arizona’s prison contracts, or Chicago’s parking rights sold to a sovereign wealth fund form the Middle East, he addresses how private contracts take away the public’s ability to make decisions, and in turn are subject to financial obligations for their investors.
Here is a quote from the article, written by Linda Stein:
“Often, local governments are not as sophisticated as the private companies who come in and want to buy something the public owns. And the officials see a PowerPoint with a bunch of “pretty pictures” and sign on the dotted line, ending up with a raw deal for their residents. “This is an assault on our democracy,” Cohen said. And contracts, once signed, can be hard and expensive to break. “A deal’s a deal. Rigid contracts take away our ability to make decisions”…CWA solicitor Frank Catania said that for-profit water companies are lobbying the state legislature hard. “That’s their business,” Catania said. “That’s what they do. Constituents don’t understand the pressure the legislators are under.” “Aqua has a list of every water system in the state,” said Cohen. “We should create that list and get ahead. Their strategy is to surround the cities…They’re playing a long game.”