I received an email today that pointed at the following article http://cbs2chicago.com/local/water.system.2.1267896.html
While this issue is in the Land of Rumor today, it is not unthinkable that it could become reality tomorrow.
I am well aware of the fact that Chicago has aging infrastructure, having just lived through a water main break at my condominium. I think it is essential that Chicago maintain a capital improvement program to repair and replace the aging infrastructure. I don't think that requirement will be addressed if the provisioning of water is privatized.
Before any such decision is made I insist that the city provide the basis for even considering such an action and demonstrate, in plain English, why it is to the city and its citizens' advantage. At the moment I cannot imagine why privatization would be an option. Private business is driven by the need to make a profit and a return on investment to the shareholders. Government services do not function that way. If the underlying issue is the city's inability to support the infrastructure and raise the funds to make repairs and replace aging components then the time is long past for an honest discussion with the citizens about the costs to maintain a safe and reliable water supply. Otherwise you merely delay the day of reckoning when taxes and fees must increase despite taking the politically safe option of promising no new taxes.
The citizens of Chicago deserve better than the dancing performed by the city's leadership when confronted by serious issues, especially budgetary ones. The rumor of privatization of the water supply would not see the light of day if the proponents knew that the city's leaders were not fans of the easy way out. However, the fact that we are even talking about the possibility proves the point that the proponents see this as another tempting carrot to dangle in front of the administration and a spineless Council. Witness their success with parking meters, not to mention the privatization of the Skyway, and the ongoing chatter about the airports. One must wonder at what point we find ourselves in the world of Robocop with a privatized police force.
Chicago's leadership (including the Council) need to grow a spine, take a stand for transparency, and then ride out the storm that inevitably occurs when folks in denial raise a ruckus. Selling off assets is not a solution for the ills that plague us. Privatizing the provisioning of water cannot be allowed.