Privatization Issues: Decision-Maker Checklist

Privatization Issues: Decision-Maker Checklist

Publicly owned water systems provide drinking water to roughly 88% of people in the U.S. The rate at which publicly owned systems are transferred to private ownership has remained relatively flat since the 1990s, with remunicipalization on the uptick in the late 2010s. However, questions about the privatization of water systems still arise on a regular basis, and the COVID-19 pandemic may have increased private sector interest in utilities.

This private sector involvement can come in various forms: (1) an outright sale of a public water utility to an investor owned utility (IOU), or (2) different types of public-private partnerships that involve aspects of privatization but fall short of an outright sale. Determining whether one of these public-private partnerships would benefit a public utility can be a daunting, complex task.

To help with this evaluation, the Privatization Issues Decision-maker Checklist is designed to be high-level decision-making framework on:

  1. how to identify the type of public-private partnership that is best suited to meeting a public water utility’s needs without selling the utility to an IOU, and
  2. best practices for evaluating such service arrangements.

Click the link below to download the check list. More details about the benefits of public water utilities, privatization, and everything in between can be found in the Benefits of Public Water Systems module of the Tap into Resilience Toolkit.


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