211441 Water business

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:50 PM

Ellen Jones, ND, FNP, APRN , Community Practice, The University of North Carolina @ Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Temitope Adedoyin , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Steeped in the water business debate are two major philosophical questions 1) is the access to water a basic human right and then 2) who owns the water? We care about the answers because they determine how countries continue to make choices that will affect our ability to obtain the most basic human necessity for life, clean water. Clean drinking water, in the US, is protected by the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act which authorizes the EPA to set national health-based standards for drinking water. Prior to World War I, approximately half of the US water systems were privately held. With increased government funding, this number fell to as few as 11 percent by World War II. Since the early 1990s, there has been an increased push to privatize our national water supply, allowing corporations to purchase sanitation systems. Such US corporate names as GE, ITT, and DOW as well as European companies have invested in our water systems. In the US alone, water is estimated to be a yearly 150 billion dollar industry. In less developed countries, water is often the source of conflict and corruption. Water as a commodity leaves the consumer vulnerable to exorbitant pricing and risks the safety of the water supply. Interestingly, bottled water, often sold as “pure”, is not regulated for contaminates anywhere in the world. Bottled water may cheat the buyer while making enormous profits for investors. This presentation focuses on the similarities and differences of water privatization in the US and Nigeria.

Learning Objectives:
1) To explore the debate surrounding water privatization. 2) To describe the types of water privatization seen in the US and Nigeria. 3) To demonstrate the effects of water privatization on populations such as the US and Nigeria.

Keywords: International Health, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I lecture on water quality.
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.