Baltimore is on track to become the first major American city to outlaw water privatization of the public water system and human rights activists and union workers are celebrating after Baltimore’s City Council approved “a charter amendment” that would “prohibit the sale or lease of the systems,” Common Dreams reported.
In a unanimous vote, the charter amendment makes both the water supply and sewer system “inalienable” and leaves the systems in local control. The amendment will now go to Mayor Catherine Pugh, who is said to sign it, before appearing as a measure on the November ballot.
“Access to clean and affordable water should be looked at as a basic human right,” City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, said. “I have always been a proponent of retaining our city’s assets, which is why I am completely opposed to the privatization of Baltimore’s water system.”
While many large corporations have been lobbying in Baltimore for years pitching a city water takeover, human rights activists and many protesters opposed the proposal because of the possibility of higher water bills, increased water shutoffs and the possibility of eliminating public sector jobs.
As Atlanta, New Orleans, and Puerto Rico, to name a few, continue to battle against water privatization, ThinkProgress reported, the Baltimore City Council is trying to set the pace for the rest of the cities across the U.S. to follow suit.
“The City’s water and sewer system is a priceless asset for the citizens of Baltimore and I am determined to do everything possible to protect this vital resource and ensure that it remains reliable, clean, and plentiful,” Mayor Pugh said in a tweet.