Friday, March 9, 2007

Shit, There is Poop in the Water

This notice is to inform customers that the water system exceeded the maximum total contaminant level for total coliform bacteria on February 7, 2007

This was the start of the lovely letter that I received from the local water company. I find this especially disturbing because contamination by coliform bacteria is a nice way of saying that the water is tainted with shit. This makes me very glad that I have reverse osmosis system. But still this is very upsetting. To me one of the hallmarks of living in the First World is being able to drink the water coming out of the faucet without getting sick.

To me this is the perfect illustration of why the provision of water should not be in the hands of a private entity. With only one set of water pipes practicable the water company is permanent monopoly. Capitalism only works when there is competition or the threat of competition. Right now I could now be more unhappy with there service, but what other option do I have? I either buy my water from them or go with out, not a very practicable option in the desert.

If my water was provided by a public utility I would at least of the recourse of complaining to my elected official, and if did not like the response I got from them I could vote for someone else. But with a private monopoly on product I can't live without I have zero leverage over them.

This is company that clearly does not learn from its mistakes. Early last year it was convicted of negligent homicide yet the same people continue to run it in the same manner. If it were it were a public entity, public outrage would have forced a complete overhaul of their management and business practices. Some things should just be publicly owned

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