Increased Privatization of Water
Pressure turned up in the war on water
Towns push to make service public again
For many towns across the country, it once seemed like a good idea to have municipal water utilities in the hands of private companies.
Now, bristling against skyrocketing rates, spotty service and foreign ownership, a number of towns across Illinois and the U.S. are waging fierce battles to regain control of their drinking water. A host of them are fighting a German conglomerate that has snapped up more than 1,800 American water utilities.
The battle is intensifying in Illinois, where the German company RWE and subsidiary Illinois American Water own the water supplies for more than 1 million people in 125 areas of the state.
Responding to complaints, American Water held meetings last week in Homer Glen, Orland Park and Bolingbrook hoping to mollify angry customers. Instead, they tapped into a deep vein of frustration.