Did You Know?: South Carolina’s Drinking Water Is Controlled by a Private Interest

This letter is from today’s The State of Columbia, SC:

SC drinking water: Similar to this?

Private water companies a bad deal

We were in Italy on vacation last month when 57 percent of the Italian population came out to vote “si” on three referendums — and “no” to the privatization of water systems. Italians overwhelmingly do not want private companies to take over their drinking water because they’ve heard horror stories from Africa, and from the United States, about cash-conscious private companies bilking their customers.

Nowhere in the United States is this more apparent than in South Carolina, where many communities are squeezed at the throat by a private company with many tentacles into rural areas. Many who don’t have public water have either private wells or Utilities Inc., also known as Carolina Water.

Rarely does it provide palatable water or a system of water distribution that works well. Many communities have brown water caused by iron bacteria. DHEC says it doesn’t harm anyone, but who wants to drink brown water?

Carolina Water is asking for an astronomical rise in its rates, for everyday water use, for disconnecting and for re-connecting to its service (docket number 2011-47-WS). A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on July 13 at the Lexington County Tennis Complex.

South Carolinians should learn a lesson from the Italians and become activists for the very basic right to drinkable water.

Laura P. Valtorta

Columbia

I’d love to know what the water was like before it went private. Does anyone know? Please leave a comment.

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