Here’s Ron Bailey:
Activists around the world chant the slogan that “water is a human right.” Yet more than a billion poor people in the world today lack access to safe drinking water. Twelve million of them die each year from drinking disease-contaminated water. Among things that would most benefit the world, safe, clean drinking water is clearly a high priority, as pointed out by the Copenhagen Consensus organized by skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg in 2004. … [Swedish analyst Fredrik] Segerfeldt shows that even imperfect privatization efforts have already successfully connected millions of poor people to relatively inexpensive water where government-funded efforts have failed. For example, before privatization in 1989, only 20 percent of urban dwellers the African nation of Guinea had access to safe drinking water; by 2001 70 percent did. The price of piped water increased from 15 cents per cubic meter to almost $1, but as Segerfeldt correctly notes, “before privatization the majority of Guineans had no access to mains water at all. They do now.
[C]hild mortality fell 8 percent in the areas that privatized their water services and that the effect was largest (26 percent) in the poorest areas.
For more on water privatization, go here.