Although many harmful and negative effects of water privatization have been presented, it is important to consider both sides of an argument for there are some potential positive benefits of privatization.
First, water privatization has the ability to conserve. As human populations continue to increase and the effects of climate change intensify, freshwater supplies are expected to tighten, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Gies). Private water sectors have the potential to manage usage. With rising demand, the prospect of increasing shortages suggests that conservation would be a leading strategy, “but water activists say that private companies have no incentive to conserve water, because the more water they sell, the more money they make” (Gies).
However, consumers do have an incentive to conserve water usage when they are the ones paying the inflated costs: “When people must purchase water through the private market, cost serves an important incentive for conservation” (Blue Gold). People are less likely to waste a resource in which they are paying high market rates.
(Water and Wastewater).
Although less relevant to the United States, water privatization has demonstrated a positive impact in third world and developing countries. Blue Gold exemplifies that many water systems in poor countries would not have existed if not the private funding of international lending institutions. Privatization allows for the outsourcing of expensive costs to provide water. Furthermore, “governments overwhelmed by other development needs” may be unable to efficiently manage the complexity of water extraction, treatment, delivery, and finance (Blue Gold).
(Quenching the Water Crisis – Genome Compiler Corporation).