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The private water giants may pitch themselves as big, stable and dependable. But the truth is its difficult on any given day to keep track of who owns them.

If we look at Hamiltons water contract, it was initially given to Phillips, which was purchased by Azurix, which was purchased by Enron, then sold to American Water, which was purchased by RWE, a German energy transnational. Its currently about to go again to tender.

Now Moncton finds that its P3 contract for water treatment with US Filter has been bounced to a new conglomerate. Veolia Environnement, which owned US Filter and was part of the French-based Vivendi empire, has sold US Filter to Siemens, the German engineering group.

Siemens sees the billion-dollar purchase as a strategic move to compete with General Electric in the North American market. What this will mean for Moncton residents isnt immediately apparent. What is clear is that if you want stable management and operation of your water systems, theres nothing better than public delivery.