The We Own It campaigners and their SplashMob supporters are to be congratulated on making waves today, on the 29th anniversary of water privatisation in England and Wales. Their protest in London kept the spotlight on the scandal that is England’s all-for-profit water and sewage industry.
Scottish and Welsh consumers can be forgiven for not travelling to join the mobilisation but, then, they are fortunate enough to live in the only two nations of Britain where water is in social ownership. As a consequence, the Welsh and Scottish water authorities enjoy the highest levels of consumer satisfaction for the quality and value of the services they provide.
In England, domestic and industrial users pay for water which varies enormously in quality and price from one region to another, while chronic underinvestment in storage and transmission means excessive leakage, frequent bursts and periodic shortages.
England is now one of the few places on Earth where water is almost entirely in corporate ownership, run mostly by private equity or foreign investment firms which flush their profits out of Britain and into overseas tax havens.
Other countries have been busy renationalising their water services in the wake of neoliberal crookery and failure. […]