Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The water profiteers grab for California water

State bond lets firms profit from water:
Private companies could own, operate and profit from reservoirs and other water-storage projects built with billions in taxpayer dollars under a little-noticed provision of the $11.1 billion water bond that was approved by the Legislature and goes before California voters next year.

Lawmakers barely discussed the provision while considering the bond, and water experts who were asked about it by The Chronicle said they knew little about it or why it was a necessary part of the plan to overhaul the state's water system.

The bond bill's author, state Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, and other backers of the proposal said the provision provides the state with flexibility for how water storage projects can be financed.

Critics, however, said it opens the door to the privatization of the state's most precious resource as California's population grows and water becomes more scarce. California historically has retained control of publicly financed water projects. Privatization could allow companies to profit by selling back to the public a resource that is essentially the lifeblood of the state economy, or using it for their own profit-making interests like agriculture.

No comments: