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New Orleans, Louisiana



The thoughts of Public Citizen's staff are with the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The lessons we are beginning to learn in its aftermath confirm our dedication to advocate for the rights of all American consumers.

To donate money, supplies or time to our allies in the Gulf Region, please visit: www.acorn.org or www.seiu.org 

Click here for a Washington Post article on Katrina's impact on public health.

Read also about the toxic chemicals in the flood waters being pumped back into Lake Pontchartrain.

 

In a huge setback for Big Water's big plans to privatize water in big cities, New Orleans ended its long nightmarish flirtation with privatizing a combined water/wastewater operation in April, 2004. The ill-fated consideration ran up a price tag of roughly $5 million over more than five years and a pair of mayors. And what does New Orleans have to show for all that time and money?

  • Bid proposals from United Water and Veolia Water-the two biggest, and presumably most experienced, water/wastewater system operation and management contractors on the planet-that were so laden with uncertainties, inadequacies, omissions and other problems that New Orleans officials could not credibly compare one bid against the other.
  • Paralysis in the publicly operated water system, where uncertainty about future management stalled decision-making, stymied implementation of cost-saving innovations identified by public system managers and employees, and hammered public employee morale.
  • Complacency and lack of commitment on the part of Veolia Water North America, the private contractor currently operating the wastewater system-even as the company was trying to convince New Orleans to grant it a water services contract.

Even before the New Orleans water privatization scheme was officially sunk, water corporation observers were ringing the death knell of so-called "showcase" long-term contracts in major metro areas-not so long ago the main strategy of the corporate water titans. The New Orleans plan, once hailed by corporate officials as yet another example of privatization's big trend in big cities, wound up as the dying gasp of a failed business model.

In the News:
2005
Agusut 1: S&WB moves to refinance its debt
May 15: Payoffs involved in S&WB process, feds say 
January 22: Politically connected exec led a double life. 'Dealmaker' had conflicting roles in water board talks 

2004
August 18: Nagin Nixes Water Privatization, Appoints New Director
April 20: Mayor Dropping Water Board Privatization Plan

2003
August 17: Terrible and tender, water execs pour it on

    » cmep | Water | us | municipal | neworleans


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