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Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States that is fighting for self-determination, is on the verge of losing control of its water resources. In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a lawsuit against the Government of Guam and the Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) to force required upgrades needed for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. The estimated cost of these upgrades is $222 million dollars. The EPA’s pressure has played right into the pro-privatization agenda of the Guam Chamber of Commerce and the current Camacho/Moylan Administration, which hopes to attract a greater military presence on island. 

A concession agreement, modeled after the failed Manila privatization, was crafted by a high-priced consultant team: Black and Veatch Corp. and Hunton and Williams. Over a million dollars has been spent to pave the way for the corporate takeover of Guam’s water utilities, which is now the largest privatization deal underway in the U.S.

The major local newspaper, a subsidiary of Gannett, appears to be colluding with business representatives to preach the virtues of “outsourcing” in an effort to lure public support of the privatization agenda. The Chamber of Commerce, masquerading as “a group of citizen’s committed to protecting Guam’s water rights” has launched a campaign to mislead the public. A leaked copy of their campaign strategy outlines a list of twenty-two topics for the Guam Daily News opinion column. These opinion pieces are running now on a near-weekly basis.

Yet despite the hype, the legislation required to implement this so-called “Public Private Partnership” has been stalled due to the outpouring of public testimony against the privatization during the winter of 2004. Amidst the frenzy, the management of GWA has been working dutifully in meeting compliance deadlines and has made substantial improvements in the past two years, according to a peer review by the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation. Yet the threat of privatization still looms as long as the financing has not been secured for the necessary upgrades.

A number of concerned citizens have resisted the “outsourcing” of GWA and stand guard against tactics and legislative maneuvers that have yet to surface.   Indigenous groups, some elected officials, the Guam Federation of Teachers’ Union, GWA workers, activists, and other residents have publicly spoken against privatization.

At stake in this conflict are the human rights to water and the right to self-determination of the Chamoru people who have developed a culture and civilization on Guam since 2200 B.C.  The resistance calls for international solidarity, especially from the United States, who is designated as the protectorate of Guam by the Treaty of Paris.  To join them to insist that “GUAM’S WATER IS NOT FOR SALE,” contact Public Citizen or Sabina Perez.


August: Guam – U.S. influence promotes water privatization 
July:  Call for support to the International Solidarity Letter 
June 16: Partner for GWA considered
June 15: Residents tired of water woes
June 13: Chamorro Nation protests against GWA privatization
June 11: Review history before privatizing water
June 4: Poll: Thumbs down for GWA
February 2: GWA privatization trickles to halt
January 19: CCU votes to send privatization strategy to Legislature
January 19: CCU acts on privatization 
January 14: Southerners speak out on privatizing water system 
Jnaury 9: Tiyan resident not buying into GWA privatization

    » cmep | Water | cmep Water | reports | guam

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