This seemed like such a glaring example of the global Inequality of Wealth and Income Distribution:
"While over 1 billion people worldwide lack reliable access to safe drinking water, people in rich countries spend astronomical amounts of money on bottled water, which they could not distinguish from tap water if they tried. Ironically, only $11 billion would pay for clean water and sanitation for everybody on the planet, a figure which represents less than a quarter of global annual spending on bottled water." (New York Times) - full article
I wonder if the reality behind facts like this - that there are a lot of people held down at the point of an IMF "gun" - may one day come around to bite us privileged people's of the Western world.
If you are interested in this subject you may like to see the "water wars" documentary.
The World Bank claims that prepaid water meters can "facilitate cost-recovery and accelerate private sector participation in provision of water services."