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Water Facts...

  • Over one billion people lack access to clean water and 2.5 billion people don't have adequate sewage and sanitation services. Consequently, over 2,112,000 people mostly children die annually from diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. (Public Citizen)

  • By 2020, two-thirds of the world's population is expected to lack access to clean water if the current development continues. (Public Citizen)

  • Industrial farming accounts for 65% of the water consumed by humans. Manufacturing accounts for 25%. (Public Citizen)

  • Massachusetts rivers have seen their flow seriously reduced by the draining of aquifers. The Ipswich River is already dangerously depleted, and state officials say that the Charles, Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury rivers are "stressed."

  • According to the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, approximately $200 billion is needed to adequately repair the water infrastructure in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the major source of funding for water infrastructure projects, is currently valued at just $52 billion. (Polaris Institute)

  • In FY 2006, the Bush Administration plans to cut the federal government's annual payment to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the major source of funding for water infrastructure projects, by $369 million, bringing the annual payment down to $730 million. In FY 2002 the federal government put $1.98 billion into the fund. (http://www.polarisinstitute.org/polaris_project/water_lords/News/feb_8_05.html)

  • The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's water quality budget has been cut by 25% since 2001. (http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/04590754.)

  • The municipal water market in the U.S. is valued at $90 billion. (Public Citizen)

  • There are 45 federal administrative orders or consent decrees currently in effect requiring Massachusetts communities to repair their water systems to meet Clean Water Act standards. 12 Massachusetts communities are facing similar enforcement actions from state agencies.

  • Following water privatization in Atlanta, GA, United Water cut the workforce from 700 to 300 workers. This led to massive delays in repairs and maintenance. Nevertheless the company billed the city for millions of dollars more than the annual contract fee. (Water Allies Network)

  • In the decade following water privatization in England and Wales, water rates rose by 102% while companies delayed making repairs and improvements to the infrastructure. (Public Citizen)

  • The average annual water bill for a customer in a Massachusetts community with a publicly owned and operated water system is $321. The average customer in a Massachusetts community with a water system run by Aquarion Water Works pays $557 a year for water. (Rates)

  • As of April, 2005, 23 Massachusetts communities had privatized water delivery systems. 1100 communities nationwide have privately operated water delivery systems. (Boston Phoenix)

  • Thousand Oaks, CA has the highest water rates in the U.S. Its water system is run by a subsidiary of RWE./American Water. (Polaris)

  • United Water was fined $95,000 for overdrawing wells by as much as 131% in two counties in Florida from 1998-2000. (Polaris)

  • A city official in Rockland, MA was charged with accepting a $300,000 bribe from an executive of the Veolia company, leading the town to terminate its water and sewer treatment contract with the city in February, 2004. (Public Citizen, Waves of Regret.)

  • In Lexington, KY in September of 2004 a city councilor revealed that Kentucky American Water had offered to run his entire re-election campaign if he dropped his opposition to their operation of the city's water system. Kentucky law forbids corporations from making direct campaign contributions. The company has made no attempt to hide its activities, however the company's official business plan, filed with the state, says that "we need to work harder to get people elected to the [City Council] who have a pro-free-enterprise philosophy." (Polaris)

  • In 1996 the city of Phoenix, AZ and AFSCME Local 2384, the union representing the city's water workers, launched an initiative to improve the quality and cut the cost of the city's water services. They set a five year goal of saving $60 million, and instead saved $77 million. (Water Allies Network)

  • Approximately 25% of the bottled water on the market is just purified tap water, but bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times as much as tap water. (Public Citizen)

  • A four year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council testing 103 brands of bottled water found that "about one-third of the waters tested contained levels of contamination including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic." (Polaris Institute)

  • Today, close to one-fifth of the population relies exclusively on bottled water for their daily hydration.

  • 1.5 million tons of plastic is used to manufacture water bottles for the global market each year.  

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