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Poll Shows Public Concern Over Idea Of Privately Run Drinking Water Systems

Lawmakers Considered Increasing Private-Sector Management Last Session


A recent poll shows most Wisconsin residents are concerned about the idea of turning public drinking water systems over to the private sector.

State lawmakers considered a bill last session that would have allowed more privately-run water systems, but Marquette University Law School pollster Charles Franklin says a statewide voter survey he recently conducted found 70 percent of residents are “very or somewhat concerned” about the prospect of a private operator.

Franklin told a drinking water forum held Wednesday at the Marquette University Law School that, “Perhaps this is an indication of why the Legislature backed off on moving on this bill.”

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But Franklin said the issue seemed to break along partisan lines. Just 30 percent of self-identified Republican voters said they’re “very concerned,” compared with 57 percent of Democrats. State lawmakers may revisit the topic in the 2017 session.