Public Water Works!

Keep Our Most Essential Service in Public Hands

Taking advantage of the economic trials of cities and the failure of the federal government to adequately fund public water systems, the private water industry is aggressively pushing for private control of public water. But that’s not the solution.

Cities across the country where water corporations have assumed ownership or management of public systems have struggled with:

  • Egregious rate hikes
  • Water quality issues
  • Environmental abuses
  • Labor disputes and layoffs
  • Neglected and underfunded infrastructure
  • Loss of local control over an essential public service

On the other hand, cities which have engaged in public-public partnerships and/or taken back control of their water systems, have realized increases in accountability and cost savings. Read our report, Troubled Waters to learn more about the private water industry’s track record and political interference, and the growing trend of cities taking back public control of their water systems.

We can’t wait any longer. Our most essential public service needs our voice. It’s time to stand up to expose industry interference and protect this public service that we cannot do without.

Communities protect public water

Despite Suez and Veolia’s attempts to profit from our public water, communities across the country are standing up to the water giants. And after months of organizing, St. Louis, MO succeeded in giving Veolia the boot: a giant step towards keeping water in public hands. And, together with the One Baltimore United coalition, we successfully stopped another contract with major global water privatizer Veolia in Baltimore.

Leaders Call for Action

Policymakers, thought leaders and activists are calling on the President and Members of Congress to assert water as a national priority. We must create new and improved funding mechanisms for public water systems so we can renew our aging infrastructure and keep these systems publicly owned and operated. 

Signers to the Open Letter:

Public Water Works! Advisory Committee

Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch

Van Jones, Rebuild the Dream

Annie Leonard, Story of Stuff


Terry Bellamy, Asheville, NC

Peter Lewis, Auburn, WA

Lee Leffingwell, Austin, TX

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, MD

Melvin “Kip” Holden, Baton Rouge, LA

John B. Callahan, Bethleham, PA

Thomas M. Menino, Boston, MA

Kenyne Schlager, Casper, WY

Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill, NC

Satyendra Huja, Charlottesville, VA

David B. Morrow, Claremont, NC

Denny Doyle, Beaverton, OR

Mark Kruzan, Bloomington, IN

Bill Finch, Bridgeport, CT

Joe Riley, Charleston, SC

Ron Littlefield,  Chattanooga, TN

Frank Cownie, Des Moines, IA

Carl Sherman, DeSoto, TX

Don Ness, Duluth, MN

William Bell, Durham, NC

Kitty Piercy, Eugene, OR

Lioneld Jordan, Fayetteville, AR

Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach, FL

Scott Getzschman,  Fremont, NE

Pedro E. Segarra, Hartford, CT

Andy A. Hafen, Henderson, NV

Crosby Gernon, Hiawatha, KS

Jerry Willey, Hillsboro, OR

William Kenoi, Hilo, HI

Alex Morse, Holyoke, MA

Timothy McDonough, Hope, NJ

Sylvester “Sly” James, Kansas City, MO

R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis, MN

John Engen, Missoula, MT

Ken Tracy, Mitchell, SD

Mary Ann Lutz, Monrovia, CA

Stewart Nels, Morrilton, AR

David Pope, Oak Park, IL

Ron Payne, Owensboro, KY

Robert Newall, Parkersburg, WV

Frank Ortis, Pembrook Pines, FL

David Glass, Petaluma, CA

Jennifer Hosterman, Pleasanton, CA

Michael F. Brennan, Portland, ME

Sam Adams, Portland, OR

Angel Taveras, Providence, RI

Esther Garcia, Questa, NM

John Dickert, Racine, WI

Nancy McFarlane, Raleigh, NC

Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond, CA

Kevin Johnson, Sacramento, CA

Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, UT

Edwin Lee, San Francisco, CA

Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara, CA

David Coss, Santa Fe, NM

Richard Bloom, Santa Monica, CA

Ernesto Olivares, Santa Rosa, CA

Brenda Lawrence, Southfield, MI

John Marks, Tallahasssee, FL

Lou Ogden, Taulatin, OR

Adolfo Gamez, Tolleson, AZ

Tony Mack, Trenton, NJ

Laurel Prussing, Urbana, IL

Vincent Gray, Washington DC

James M. Baker, Wilmington, DE

Zach Vruwink, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Public Water Directors

Henry Meyer, District Manager Kingston, Rhode Island

Boyce Spenali, Chief Engineer and General Manager, Providence Water

Ed Harrington, Commissioner, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Jeff Niermeyer, Director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities

Jim Benning, Director of Duluth Public Works and Utilities

George Hawkins, General Manager, DC Water

John Carmen, Director of Raleigh Public Utilities

Other Public Officials

Christine C. Quinn – Speaker, New York City Council

James F. Kenney – Councilman, Philadelphia City Council

Brian J. O’Neill – Councilman, Philadelphia City Council 

William K. Greenlee – Councilman, Philadelphia City Council

Cindy Bass – Councilwoman, Philadelphia City Council

Marian B. Tasco – Councilwoman, Philadelphia City Council

Mark F. Squilla – Councilman, Philadelphia City Council

Jannie L. Blackwell – Councilwoman, Philadelphia City Council

Blondell Reynolds Brown – Councilwoman, Philadelphia City Council

Bill Green – Councilman, Philadelphia City Council

Bill Henry – Councilman, Baltimore City Council

William Cole – Councilman, Baltimore City Council

Mary Pat Clark – Councilwoman, Baltimore City Council


Leilani Munter, Racecar Driver

Jackson Brown, Musician

The Ditty Bops, Musicians

Daphne Zuniga, Actor

Tim Robbins, Actor

Rosanna Arquette, Actor

Fran Drescher, Actor

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