Baltimore is poised to become the first major U.S. city to prohibit privatization of its water system and the first to do so by amending its city charter.

Aly Shaw of the Pittsburgh Our Water Campaign says lead levels in her city are finally going down after Pittsburgh regained public, democratic control of the water system. That Baltimore’s charter amendment would outlaw not only selling but also leasing the public water system to a private company under a public-private partnership, Shaw says, is crucial.

“We’re asking our own city council follow Baltimore’s lead,” Shaw says. “We simply cannot afford to risk our public’s health again by entering into another public-private partnership.”

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