World Water Day

That’s right, it’s today. Amazingly, 12 million people die each year because they don’t have access to clean and safe water. Here’s Fredrik Segerfeldt:

There may be a solution to what had been an insoluble problem. In recent years, a small number of developing country governments have turned to the private sector for help and have introduced market-oriented reforms in the water sector. Overall, the results have been encouraging.

But, as is often the case:

The attempts at privatization have met vociferous resistance. A coalition of non-governmental organizations, trade unions for public employees, and international organizations such as the United Nations have done all they can to limit the role of the market and the business community. And they have had some success. The pace of privatization has slowed down, and the World Bank, one of the major advocates of privatization, has gone on the defensive. Global water companies are less and less inclined to invest in developing countries, for fear that their efforts may be nationalized. This is a tragic development, and all the more so since the anti-privatization lobby is wrong on almost every count.