202924 Health Impacts of Commercially Orientated Scottish Water

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:30 AM

Thomas Kane , Department of Geography and Sociology, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland
Kyle Ross Mitchell, PhD candidate , Department of Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
This paper will consider the commercialisation and corporatisation of public water provision in Scotland. This critical discourse analysis explores the notion of ‘publicness', in the context of the increasing privatisation of ‘public' water services in Scotland. In light of the recent and significant increases in joint ventures with private sector corporations, public private partnerships, the implementation of free market mechanisms such as competition and incentives, and the downsizing of the workforce, there is clear indication of the market-orientated model adopted by the ‘public' water provider in Scotland, Scottish Water.

Utilising case studies (e.g. Scotland, England, South Africa), this paper will draw out and explore the consequences and implications of increasing corporatisation: namely, an increase in water rates; unfair labour practices; an increase in bribery and corruption; the general exploitation of fresh water resources; and the transfer of ownership and control of such an essential resource. These, along with generalized impacts on the environment, democratic control, regulatory power, and the broader public good, will be contextualised in terms of broader public health issues, consequences and implications. Empirical examples documenting the increasing commercial orientation of Scottish Water will be employed to formulate a thesis that suggests increased commercialisation and corporatisation are associated with potential increased levels of negative health outcomes in Scotland.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the commercial orientation of water provision in Scotland and the erosion of 'publicness'. 2. Evaluate the consequences, both potential and actual, of corporatisation. 3. Assess some of the impacts and evidence on public health of corporatisation in Scotland.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have written on, and researched extensively, the Scottish Water Industry.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.