M: Since water is a basic human need, water and
wastewater services should not be provided by a private, profit
F: The community retains responsibility for safe drinking water
and adequate wastewater treatment but fulfills that responsibility
through a partnership.
M: Public-private partnerships invariably lead to rate increases.
F: The community retains responsibility for setting rates, and
future rate increases can be minimized because the private partner
guarantees cost savings.
M: Massive layoffs often follow in the wake of public-private
F: There is no evidence of this. Public-private partnerships protect
jobs of existing employees.
M: Impacts on labor are always negative.
F: Transition from public to private employment usually increases
opportunities for training, continuing education and career advancement.
M: At times, service and water quality are put at risk due to
F: Most contracts require the private partner to meet or exceed
levels of service and quality of water and wastewater set by the
M: Since corporations care more about profits than about the
public interest, partnerships usually result in decreased environmental
F: Many communities enter into partnerships to remedy chronic
non-compliance with environmental regulations.
M: Checks and balances are missing at every step in the process,
from bidding to service delivery.
F: Most communities solicit input from all stakeholders when they
form a partnership and the partnership contract provides for continual
M: The private partner gets exclusive water distribution rights
for 20 years or more.
F: The private partner rarely has any rights to the water or its
M: Once a water or wastewater system is handed over to a private
partner, withdrawing from the agreement borders on the impossible.
F: Most partnership contracts allow the community to resume operations
at any time. Mechanisms are both legal and practical.
M: Even if the private partner does not fulfill its contract
obligation, proving breach of contract is a difficult and costly
F: Most contracts include two termination clauses. Breach of contract
(termination for cause) is one, but the community can terminate
for convenience at any time without any stated cause.
M: Very little can be done to ensure that the private partner
will work in the best interests of the community.
F: The performance measures specified in the contract actually
provide the community with more control than it currently has
over public operations.
M: The private partner will pay higher interest rates for capital
improvements than the public partner. The higher interest costs
will be passed on to the rate payers.
F: If the public partner has access to tax-free and low-interest
financing, there would be no need for the private partner to fund
M: Since private firms care only about making money, the private
partner may decide to export water to areas willing to pay more.
F: The municipality always owns and controls the water.
M: The private partner may take too much water resulting in ecological
imbalance and destruction.
F: The municipality monitors and regulates water extraction.
Other Water Facts