Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Yes I do own water

and I don't mean buying a bottle of Evian.

If I have land, and collect water on that property, it is mine.

Just because the state treats the sea, rivers and lakes as owned by it and local authorities, doesn't mean that water can't be owned.  It is ludicrous to claim otherwise.

Reticulated water costs money.  It requires people to work, people to construct, lay, maintain and replace pipelines, dams, pumps and the electricity required to operate them.  That isn't free.

There is no good reason why that can't be owned and operated by a private profit oriented company.  In England they are, under tight regulation, but that water is owned, and you buy it.

Socialists may argue against this, ignoring the disaster of state ownership seen recently in Northern Ireland, or the crass incompetence that saw government fail to upgrade infrastructure over many decade in places from London to Dunedin (in England and Wales investment in infrastructure increased by 83% after privatisation).

Swedish analyst Fredrik Segerfeldt concluded that water privatisation can generate enormous benefits:

For example, before privatization in 1989, only 20 percent of urban dwellers the African nation of Guinea had access to safe drinking water; by 2001 70 percent did. The price of piped water increased from 15 cents per cubic meter to almost $1, but as Segerfeldt correctly notes, "before privatization the majority of Guineans had no access to mains water at all. They do now. And for these people, the cost of water has fallen drastically. The moral issue, then, is whether it was worth raising the price for the minority of people already connected before privatization in order to reach the 70 percent connected today."

he concludes by asking... "why anti-privatization activists do not expend as much energy on accusing governments of violating the rights of 1.1 billion people who do not have access to water as they do on trying to stop its commercialization".

However, the National Party has never been that good at selecting politicians who can argue principle over fear and scaremongering.  

1 comment:

scrubone said...


There was a guy on Kim Hill this morning talking about water.