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Providence City Council resolution against water monetization sent to committee



The Providence City Council resolution opposing “any and all forms of monetization and/or privatization of Providence water supply and sewer and of Scituate Reservoir was introduced Thursday evening by City Councilors Rachel Miller (Ward 13), Katherine Kerwin (Ward 12) and Seth Yurdin (Ward 1). Surprisingly, no other City Councilors rose to support the resolution.

The resolution was referred to the Committee on City Property. Two of the resolution’s sponsors, Kerwin and Miller, are on that committee, as are City Councilors Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), Michael Correia (Ward 6), Sabina Matos (Ward 15) and Nicholas Narducci Jr (Ward 4).

The three sponsors of the resolution rose to speak in favor.

“Access to clean, affordable water is a basic human right,” said Miller. “It is at risk across the country and across the globe. And what we know from previous proposals to privatize, to monetize water is that rates go up for ratepayers, quality goes down, and too often workers’ rights are eroded and infrastructure is eroded.”

“It’s simply not credible that the City of Providence would somehow receive hundreds of millions of dollars today without residents, rate-payers and employees bearing the cost for future decades through higher rates, lower wages and potential water quality issues,” said Yurdin.

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“I want to recognize all the organizers in the room from the Land and Water Sovereignty Campaign,” said Kerwin. “I think selling water is a huge, huge risk. I am extremely concerned that if we make this move we will not be able to go back on it.”

The City of Providence is inviting residents from across Rhode Island to participate in community conversations hosted by the Mayor’s Office and partners focused on the legislation and its potential impact statewide. Community meetings are set to take place on the following dates, times and locations:

  • March 4, 2019, 6:00PM – 7:30PM; Nathan Bishop Middle School, Auditorium, 101 Sessions St, Providence, RI 02906
  • March 11, 2019, 6:00PM – 7:30PM; Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, Cafeteria, 375 Adelaide Ave, Providence, RI 02907
  • March 21, 2019, 6:00PM – 7:30PM; Nathanael Greene Middle School, Auditorium, 721 Chalkstone Ave, Providence, RI 02908


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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.