Part Two of the story will not please the activists. (They have probably forgotten about Cochabamba in their haste to find new evils, like corporate water footprints.)
This Alternet article points out that a return to earlier conditions means a return to earlier incompetence and corruption, i.e.,
when it came time for the people of Cochabamba to elect SEMAPA's citizen directors, scarcely 4 percent of eligible voters turned out, and nobody seemed to know why. In a move typical of countries where corruption historically filters through all levels of society, the first elected director filled the company with friends and family and was removed from office by popular fiat in 2005. The second director did much the same and was removed two years later...What's the solution? The same thing that works everywhere -- with both private and public water operators -- strong community oversight of the water monopoly, i.e.,
SEMAPA continues to suffer from all of the problems that plague public utilities throughout the developing world: unmanageable debt, leakage and infamously poor service. Local researchers now say that, if SEMAPA serves as a model for anything, it's a model of what can go wrong in public water management.
But SEMAPA isn't doing its job, so we have to do it. We [a cooperateive named APAAS] come from the neighborhood, we're self-sufficient, self-managed and autonomous. The cooperatives didn't emerge from an ideological vision, but from a common need."Bottom Line: Profit-seeking companies are not evil. People who serve themselves instead of their people are evil. (Got that Bush?)
"Every Friday," Condori said, "our workers walk the entire line checking for leaks and clandestine connections. Just two workers check the whole line, every week. We have a 6 percent water loss from leaks. Compare that to SEMAPA's 54 percent. Not bad."