WHEREAS, Aqua America utilizes natural water resources for our company’s livelihood, and water quality and quantity are vital for Aqua America’s success;
At the time of writing this resolution, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that over 52% of the U.S. is in drought, while over 20% are in “severe” or “extreme” droughts;
It has been widely reported that Aqua America, after evicting 38 families from their homes, plans to build a 3 million gallon PER DAY water withdrawal site from the Susquahanna River to service natural gas drilling despite “severe drought . . . at levels that haven’t been seen since 1910 and 1946.” And since “fracking has been linked to cases of water contamination,” selling water for hydraulic fracturing raises serious corporate governance concerns pertaining to Aqua America’s commitment to “quality water”;
According to a study by the Pacific Institute, 75% of experts interviewed cited water volume needs of hydraulic fracturing among their highest concerns. Spills, leaks, and water quality were other commonly cited concerns;
On September 30, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming that access to water and sanitation are human rights. The United States joined the consensus in voting for this resolution;
The Company has already come under scrutiny of water rights nongovernmental organizations which indicate that the Company may have failed to adhere to the human right to water. According to a report by Food & Water Watch (FWW), the Company is criticized for allegedly:
- “Voraciously eating up small [public water utilities],” then raising the water rates and surcharges to such high rates that some residents can no longer afford to pay their bills,
- Doubling water rates for 110,000 residents in 15 Florida counties, dubbed by FWW as “unfair, discriminatory and downright unconstitutional,”
- Charging residents in Illinois for water they had not used—such as “270,000 gallons of water on a vacant lot,” or “water bill[s] vary[ing] the size of . . . waterline pipe from month to month,”
- Providing water to NC residents which contained carcinogens uranium and radium; uranium levels five times higher than allowed by the EPA.
Our company’s continued operation without strong human rights and environmental policies pose serious risks to our reputation and share value if we are seen as responsible for or complicit in human rights violations, specifically the violation or erosion of the rights to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water;
RESOLVED, the shareholders request the Board of Directors to create a comprehensive policy articulating our company’s respect for and commitment to the human right to water.
Proponents believe the policy should elucidate Aqua America’s commitment to ensuring sustainable access to water resources, entitling everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water while operating our business.
 “Aqua America: Strategies of a Water Profiteer,” Food & Water Watch, 2008.