Does public ownership of utilities matter for local government water policies?

Util Policy. 2020 Jun;64:101057. doi: 10.1016/j.jup.2020.101057. Epub 2020 Apr 29.


What differentiates local governments that implement water policies on equity and the environment? Analyzing a 2015 national survey of 1,897 U.S. municipalities, we find municipalities that own their water utilities are more likely to report policies to protect low-income residents from disconnection and implement water resource management. Respondents from 8% of municipalities report protecting residents from disconnection. State economic regulation of municipally owned utilities and Democrat-majority municipal governments are positively associated with local policies to protect low-income households from shutoffs but bear no association with resource management. Both municipal ownership of utilities and state economic regulation may play a role in meeting certain local water policy goals.

Keywords: Drinking water disconnection (shutoff); Municipal ownership; Water resource management.