WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The city of Baltimore voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ban the privatization of its water and sewerage systems, in what supporters say is the first large U.S. jurisdiction to take such a step.
Around 77 percent of more than 148,000 voters backed a proposal to alter the city’s charter to declare the “inalienability” of its sewerage and water-supply systems, with most votes counted Wednesday morning.
A Baltimore official said multiple cities have expressed interest in similar provisions.
The measure “sends a strong message to private corporations,” said Rianna Eckel, Maryland state organizer for Food & Water Watch, an advocacy group that promoted the ballot initiative.
“It prohibits any asset sales or leases of the system,” she added. “It’s not a sure-fire trick to prevent any privatization ever, but it prohibits the most dangerous efforts,” she added.