Update of the Greek Water situation

Thessaloniki, 24th of January 2018

On 15th January, the Greek parliament voted a law to pass the 3rd evaluation of the Troika. Among others, the law includes the transfer of water companies (51%) straight to the Superfund. When the Superfund was created, the idea was that all public companies would be transferred to a holding company which would be a subsidiary of the Superfund. In fact, the new scenario is worse than the previous one.

Just a day after the vote in parliament, TAIPED (HRADF) announced the update of its privatization projects, among them 24% of EYATH (water company of Thessaloniki) and 11% of EYDAP (water company of Athens). Since the 3rd memorandum, they had been talking about selling 23% of EYATH; which now has become 24%, leaving the public with only 50% + one shares.

In September 2016, the Union of EYATH workers sued the Supreme Court for the creation of the Superfund and the transfer of EYATH to it. This case will be judged by the end of February. Now we are researching whether the 2016 action to sue is consistent with the transfer that will take place on 15th January or whether we need a new one!

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Remunicipalization of water in Turin

Six years later, the Turin City Council finally acted according to the popular will expressed by the referendum against privatization of 2011.

On Monday 9 October 2017, the 5Stelle group, "Torino in Comune" and "Direzione Italia" voted for the transformation of the water company SMAT S.p.A. into Azienda Speciale of public law.

After Naples, Turin is the second largest city in Italy to remunicipalize its water. From today begins the countdown of the setup of the Azienda Speciale that will also integrate the 40 municipalities of the metropolitan area. This process will officially end in April 2018.

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Internationally renowned environmentalists urge water committee to end domestic water charges in Ireland

Two of the worlds most prominent environmentalists and leading experts on water have written to Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan, member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Water, urging her not to support metered charges for so-called ‘excessive use’.

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of the Blue Planet Project, wrote to Senator O’Sullivan stating:

“Access to clean, safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are fundamental human rights that are essential for human health, dignity and well-being. As many countries fall short of their obligations to ensure that this right is enjoyed by all segments of the population, Ireland has successfully maintained universal coverage through central taxation and non-domestic usage fees. I am writing to urge you not to jeopardize this successful model that serves as an example to the rest of the world by introducing metered user fees.”

Read more on the Irish right2water blog

Citizens' participation in the management of water services in Europe : Berlin

The European Water Movement asked associations and collectives, who acted for the return of public management of their local water services, to describe the citizens' participation mechanisms in service management (implemented, being implemented or desired mecanisms), and to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. In this article, Dorothea Härlin from the Berliner Wassertisch presents the case of Berlin.

First Remunicipalization - then Democratization!
An interim report on the democratization status of Berlin’s water management

Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) has been 100% back in public ownership since 2014, after 24.9% shares had been sold to both Veolia and RWE following the familiar PPP model. As with all PPP contracts, this scandalous contract was secret. In 2011, however, after the first people’s initiative referendum to be won in Berlin (“Our Water”), the contract had to be disclosed. This placed Berlin’s politicians under such pressure that they bought back RWE’s shares in 2012 and Veolia’s shares in 2013. BWB has thus been remunicipalized since 2014.

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Remunicipalisation of water management in Valladolid

In 1997, after nearly 40 years of public management of the integral water cycle (1959-1983 municipal provider; 1983-1997 public enterprise), Valladolid City Council granted a concession to Agualid-Aguas de Valladolid, a subsidiary company of Agbar-Aguas de Barcelona (owned by Suez). Thus, water supply (and later wastewater) was privatised until 2017. In 2016, the Valladolid City Council decided to remunicipalise the water supply in the metropolitan area as the private contract was expiring in July 2017.

Read more on the Water Remunicipalisation Tracker