Foundation-meeting of the Berlin Water Assembly

Berlin, 29 november 2013

Yesterday more than 40 people, mostly representatives of initiatives and organisations, started together with the Berlin Water Table the first phase of the foundation-meeting of the Berlin Water Assembly (working title).

First statements were made i.a. by representatives of the Berlin Energy Table, Allianz der öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft (AöW), Verband Deutscher Grundstücksnutzer (VDGN), Ökowerk Berlin und Genossenschaft von unten. Other associations and initiatives will join at the next meetings.

"After remunicipalisation: Democracy" The final aim towards remunicipalisation has been not yet achieved by the overpriced repurchase of the private shares. Many environmental and social tasks have been neglected. Citizens' participation and direct democracy are the legacy of the successful Berlin "water-referendum". The remunicipalisation of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe is providing a unique opportunity to elaborate a model of participation. The Berlin Water Assembly, board of citizens' participation, shall have right to information, to cooperation and to participation in decision-making regarding corporate goals and principles of corporate management of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe. At the next meetings an essential question will be, how the Berlin Water Assembly will to be composed and who has to elect under what procedure his representatives.

In September 2013 the Berlin Water Table has presented the draft of a "Berlin Water Charter" for understanding and model-like orientation. First comments for further elaboration could already be discussed in yesterdays foundation session.

The next working session of the Berlin Water Assembly will take place on 30 January 2014. The subject of the meeting will be the organizational structure and the integration of citizens' participation.

Gerlinde Schermer: "As a first task we plan to organize a dialog between experts and citizens' initiatives and building on this initiating a broad debate among all in the 'Berlin Water Assembly' interested persons. The result of this dialogue will be clearly defined rights of participation which will go beyond the models known so far."

Dorothea Haerlin: "Developing the 'Observatoire de l'eau' in Paris and on basis of experiences with the remunicipalisation of water supply in Naples, we take the view that the Berlin Water Assembly has not only an advisory character but a directly participating and controlling role."

Ulrike von Wiesenau: "On remunicipalisation has to follow democratisation. Now with the remunicipalisation of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe there is a unique opportunity of elaborating a model of participation in form of a Berlin Water Assembly. A common -good-orientated water supply in Berlin needs clear rules for organizational structure and participation rights of citizens."

Contact :
Gerlinde Schermer, Tel. 0177 2462 983
Ulrike von Wiesenau, Tel. (030) 781 46 04