On June 5th, 2020, at the end of a three months “de facto” suspension of constitutional rights, taking advantage of the inability of the Italian citizen to express themselves at the time, a blocking minority of small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city has rejected the proposal of the city of Turin to remunicipalize SMAT S.p.A. the local water company owned by them but ruled under Italian commercial law as private profit making company, thus stating that water is not a commons but a commodity. As a matter of fact, SMAT tariffs and water bills not only recover full operation and investment costs, but also the return on invested capital, i.e. profit.
The long march of the Italian Water Movement towards implementation of the Referendum of 2011 outcome is stopped once again by a political centre-right coalition led by the Democratic Party, disregarding popular will expressed by 25.609.701 i.e. 96,32% voters, to exclude any profit from water management and provision.
The only way to comply with the pronouncement of Italian people is the transformation of SMAT stock company into a non-profit company governed by public law whose mission is not profit but just the full cost recovery to guarantee to everyone the human right to water and sanitation services.
The Municipality of Naples achieved the former ARIN SpA remunicipalisation into ABC Naples soon after the Referendum of 2011, thus putting the accounts right, improving the quality of water supply and keeping water bills below the national average. Conversely, small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city, imbued by the mercantile culture of “profit über alles”, have constantly refused to follow the Naples example.
Despite the stop they have presently imposed to water remunicipalization, the Water Movement does not take a step back : it is committed to the coming renovation of local City councils where values and principles of water as a commons could finally prevail.
Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua
Comitato provinciale Acqua Pubblica Torino
acquapubblicatorino (at) gmail.com
+39 388 8597492