cover image Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water

Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water

Michael Fox, Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman. Jossey-Bass, $27.95 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-7879-8458-8

The filmmakers who made the documentary Thirst have put together an account of the push for the privatization of public water works and the pillaging of the countryside as producers of bottled water play fast and loose with the water tables. The authors spotlight eight communities that have fought back against Big Water, and though each case is unique, there are trends. Water privatization is an expensive proposition, and many water companies are forced to ""quickly slash costs and raise prices to maximize cash flow and pay down the debt."" The means to turn a profit often include soliciting multi-housing developments to create new ratepayers and raising water rates, such as a proposal in Felton, Calif., to hike rates 74 percent over three years. Similar stories appear throughout the book and detail dealings in communities big-Atlanta, Ga., and Lexington, Ky., both privatization battlegrounds-and small-Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Mecosa County, Mich., where grassroots groups sparred with beverage giant Nestle. The writing is provocative and the topic is an easy bet to raise hackles.