The water barons

A handful of corporations seek to privatise the world's water

Center for Public Integrity

The privatisation of public water systems around the world, driven by a handful of European corporations and the World Bank, is dramatically increasing despite sometimes tragic results, according to a new study by the Center for Public Integrity.

The report, by the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, shows that the world's three largest private water utility companies have since 1990 expanded into nearly every region of the world, raising concerns that a handful of private companies could soon control a large chunk of the world's most vital resource.

While private companies still run only about 5 per cent of the world's waterworks, their growth over the last 12 years has been enormous. The report tracked the operations of the six most globally active water companies and found that operations had grown nearly five-fold.

Key findings include: