August 11, 2003
To many Americans, the very idea of water
privatization is unthinkable. Why would anyone hand over
precious water resources to huge multi-national companies
and let them sell water back to ordinary citizens? In case
you haven't noticed, water is already being privatized
at a rapid rate in the U.S. and it's about to become much
The reason it's happening in the United
States is because our water delivery system is old and
needs repair; this repair is too expensive for local governments,
so they are turning to private companies, mostly from Germany
Well the American Water Works Company
must be American, right? Not any more. American Water Works,
which is an old American company, was bought by the massive
German utilities company, RWE,
A.G. RWE's motto: "Alles aus einer Hand".
Here's a blurb on the company:
Founded in 1898, RWE AG is a German
utilities corporation that provides electricity, gas,
water and wastewater, as well as waste disposal and recycling
services to customers worldwide. Combined with its subsidiaries,
RWE is now the third largest water services company in
the world, supplying services to 70 million people worldwide.
In 2001, RWE revenues exceeded $50 billion and the company
was ranked 53rd on Fortune magazine’s Global 500.
In January 2003, the company completed its acquisition
of American Water Works, which provides water and wastewater
services to 15 million people in the United States and
What about United Water Services? Nope.
It's owned by the giant French firm Suez.
Here's a blurb about Suez:
French-based Suez was formed in 1997
by a merger between Compagnie de Suez and Lyonnaise des
Eaux. After the merger, the company’s name became
Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and was subsequently shortened
to Suez in 2001. Suez’s water and wastewater business,
which is run through its subsidiary Ondeo, is the second
largest in the world. Suez provides water-related services
to more than 115 million people worldwide. Its other
business areas are electricity, natural gas, water and
waste management. Suez also maintains interests in television
and broadband distribution. In 2001, Suez was ranked
99th on Fortune’s Global 500, and in the same year
it was ranked 19th in the world among companies with
the greatest international presence, according to the
United Nations World Investment Report. In the summer
of 2002, Suez merged its water and wastewater services
into a division called Suez Environment.
The background information here comes
from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
See links in the sidebar.