Baltimore, Maryland voters made history today by voting in favor of passing ballot question E, a city charter amendment that bans privatization of the city’s water and sewer systems. The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to ban water privatization earlier this year. As of 11:15 p.m., Baltimore voters voted 77% in favor of this amendment with 91 percent of precincts reporting. This confirms Baltimore is now the first major city in the country to amend its charter to prohibit the sale and lease of the city’s water and sewer system.

“With water corporations circling around Baltimore over the past several years, ramped up privatization ploys last Spring, and a federal administration hellbent on propping up corporate power over peoples’ rights, it is momentous that the city has voted to keep its water public,” said Rianna Eckel, Maryland Organizer, Food & Water Watch.

“This vote makes it clear that grassroots organizing and people power have taken precedence over deep-pocketed corporate fat cats in Baltimore. Voters have chosen to resist pressure to sell and outsource one of the most vital and precious resources we have and have vowed to keep control, accountability, and transparency of our water.

Now that privatization is out of the picture, Baltimoreans can work with our elected officials to improve the accountability and affordability of our water system and ensure every person in our city has access to safe water at a price they can afford to pay. Food & Water Watch looks forward to working with other cities to protect their water systems from corporate control and using Baltimore as a model for water justice for the nation.”