Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project and Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians spoke in Zurich last week urging the city not to privatize its drinking water systems.
Her intervention comes at a time of heated debate regarding the future of public drinking water systems in Switzerland.
In July this year, the parliament of Zurich voted to revise local legislation in order to allow for private investments.
As Barlow argued, there is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that privatization has been disastrous for communities around the world:
“The public and communities lose control as local government officials abdicate control over a vital public service,” she explained. “Private water companies are accountable to their shareholders, not to the people they serve and often restrict public access to information about their operations Because they have to make a profit, they have to cut corners, raise water rates or lay off workers - often all three.”