No to privatization of water in New Orleans, USA

Water for all, not for profit. Citizens in New Orleans kick off Veolia and Suez from their commons


The city of New Orleans is one of many cities across the United States that have faced the threat of water privatization.

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Basic Data
NameNo to privatization of water in New Orleans, USA
CountryUnited States of America
SiteNew Orleans
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Level of Investment (in USD)1,500,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population480,000
Start Date01/06/1998
End Date01/10/2002
Company Names or State EnterprisesUnited Water from United States of America - One of the bidders
Veolia North America from United States of America - One of the bidders
GDF Suez (GDF Suez) from France
Suez Environnement from France
Veolia Environment from France
Relevant government actorsU.S. EPA, New Orleans city council, Sewer and Water Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersThe Water for All Campaign, ACORN, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 100 , Food and Water Watch, Urban Conservancy, Public Citizen
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
car caravans, lawn signs, door-to-door education and rallies
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherNo guaranteed water savings as a result of privatization, which would not provide any improvements to the current state of the New Orleans water and sewer issues.
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.People came together quickly and effectively to stop a privatization deal before it even began, thus protecting themselves, their water and their community rights.
Sources and Materials

[3] Consent decrees Sewerage and Water Board
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[1] Food and Water Watch Study: New Orleans, LA
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[2] Proposed New Orleans Contract Operations
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[4] United Water: Suez Environment's Poor Record in the United States
[click to view]

[5] Sewerage and Water Board Report of Proposal Evaluation Oct 14, 2002
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[6] Water Privatization Sept 12 2002
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[7] Bureau of Governmental Research report on the Charter Amendment March 2, 2002
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[8] New Orleans Voters to Decide on Proposed Privatization of SWB Board- Water and Waste Digest March 5, 2002
[click to view]

[9] Faulty Pipes: Why Public Funding —Not Privatization —Is the Answer for U.S. Water Systems
[click to view]

[10] Privatizing Water- Worldwatch Institute Jan/Feb 2003
[click to view]

[11] Water Privatization: An Economic Solution or Disaster- The Green Bulldog April 24, 2013
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Water Privatization: An Economic Solution or Disaster?
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Other Documents

No to Profits from water Source:
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Meta Information
ContributorBernadette Grafton and Paul Mohai, [email protected] and [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update07/05/2015