Starting a pilot research on water privatization
November 24, 2009 1:51 PM   Subscribe

Water privatization: I'm starting a pilot research on this subject and I am looking for quantitative data, reports and studies on any water privatization experience. At this point, anything that doesn't show up in a few obvious google searches is welcome, as well as suggestion for websites or publication on the subject.
posted by elpapacito to Work & Money (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The 1980s corporate raider T Boone Pickens was, for a while, buying up water rights in, I believe, West TX. I don't know if he is still doing that but a google search will likely yield some results.
posted by dfriedman at 2:00 PM on November 24, 2009

See, for example:
posted by dfriedman at 2:07 PM on November 24, 2009

Check out Food & Water Watch's website.
posted by salvia at 2:15 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't know how obvious they are, but Bolivia was a big one. I think South Africa was too but I may have imagined that. Here's a case study from one part of Bolivia. I imagine there is a ton more because it was a big deal and tied in with all the World Bank and IMF backlash/protest.
posted by Askr at 2:20 PM on November 24, 2009

In response to the specter of a reduced share of Colorado River water, the City of Mesa, Arizona purchased, if memory serves, about 100,000 acres in rural Pinal County. The land, which became known as the "Water Farm," sat atop an enormous aquifer. The City planned to pump the aquifer to meet its growth needs and so removed it from agricultural use (too water-consumptive). As publicly owned land, it also reduced Pinal County's tax base. It was the subject of numerous technical studies and several lawsuits. Note: T. Boone Pickens' water rights acquisition company is named "Mesa Water" (his oil company is named "Mesa Petroleum" but this is a coincidence.
posted by carmicha at 2:20 PM on November 24, 2009

You didn't say whether you were interested in a particular country, but Australia has been in the process of privatising water since 1994, including trading between catchments and across state boundaries.

The National Water Commission is a good place to start

Economist John Quiggin has done a significant amount of work on water rights and trading, as has Alan Moran and Joanne Chong.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has a good collection of submissions online, from an Inquiry into bulk water pricing.
posted by girlgenius at 2:25 PM on November 24, 2009

A blog devoted to the economics of water:
posted by dfriedman at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2009

not scholarly, but the documentary Flow, IMO, did an excellent job of investigating water privatization and its effects on people.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:36 PM on November 24, 2009

Response by poster: Wow that many answer in a short time, excellent! The topic is indeed white hot. Keep it going on plese :) ( I prefer references to european experiences, BUT as I may also look for commonalities in economic adopted economic and legislative models, any country will do, even if difference may be rooted in very different approaches in how public goods and resources are managed).
posted by elpapacito at 2:44 PM on November 24, 2009

This is a fascinating area, as the privatisation of water is slowly taking place largely out of sight.

I've only got cites to three papers to offer; this specifically isn't a research interest of mine and only came up in the context of past threads. Hope this helps!
posted by Mutant at 2:50 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites] has a pretty good story on water privisation attempts in california... their servers are melted down at the moment, check it out when they come back up. real shady shit.
posted by jcruelty at 6:59 PM on November 24, 2009

here's the google cache of the article , it's by yasha levine
posted by jcruelty at 7:00 PM on November 24, 2009

here's the article now that exiled is back up. lots of primary sources in there. boils my blood, this chicanery.
posted by jcruelty at 12:44 PM on November 27, 2009

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