Just one year ago we were arguing about how Spain was still resisting the last wave of water privatization, as a result of austerity policies and debt, seasoned with corruption scandals.
But as a result of the local and regional elections a year ago, the tide changed. As a reaction to the long-term crisis, attacks to public services and corruption in traditional parties, many citizen movements organized to run for the elections, with great success in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Ferrol, Santiago, Cádiz, Coruña and Valencia, among others.
One of the key achievements of those movements was to introduce in the public sphere the debate on how to manage public services, like water. By the end of 2015, 57 percent of the population in Spain received their tap water from a private operator. One of the most worrying consequences is that more than 500,000 families receive water cut off warnings every year, according to data from the Spanish public water companies association.
Valladolid, a city of around 300,000 inhabitants and capital of the northwestern region of Castilla y León, took the first big move a few weeks ago. The local government announced that the city would recover public control of water management, 20 years after the privatization of Aguas de Valladolid, when the contract expires in July 2017. Aguas de Valladolid is now part of the AGBAR-Suez group.
Read more on the blog of Food & Water Europe