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

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,the association Eau Secours 34 presents the case of Montpellier.

Until 2016, France had about 34 000 water and sanitation services. Territorial reforms passed in 2014 and 2015, will divide them by 10. With 3500 to 4000 significantly larger services, serving from 15 000 to hundreds of thousands of users, the question of citizens' participation will become even more fundamental since users will further away from decision centers. Therefore, there is a risk of citizens' participation dilution in a context that will also be characterized by the implementation of the Directive on the award of concession contracts.


This is how water privatization is going to be annuled



After the voting of the transfer of EYDAP and EYATH to the Superfund which was established under L. 4389/2016 the two major Greek water services are privatized in violation of the Constitution, despite the reassurances to the contrary.


Reversing The Tide: Spain Moves Into Water Remunicipalization

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

Contribution from the European Water Movement to the Irish Independent Water Commission

Dear Mr. Kevin Duffy,

The European Water movement is an open, inclusive and pluralistic network of movements, social organizations, committees and trade unions at the European level that aims to reinforce the recognition of water as a commons and access to water and sanitation as a fundamental universal right, an essential element for all living beings. In that sense, the members of the European Water Movement have followed quite closely the debate about water charges in Ireland. We are deeply worried about how the Troika has imposed rules that threaten the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and that lead to privatise water management across Europe. Therefore, we would like to share with you some reflexions.

We welcome the creation of the independent Commission in Ireland and we wish more similar efforts will be made at the European level.


The overexploitation of ground water in the South Western Vosges by Nestlé Waters and the Ermitage cheese dairy

An environmental disaster and obvious conflicts of interest implicating Nestlé

These two agribusinesses, which use 50% of water resources, have been responsible for at least 30 years of permanent deficits (in the order of 1.3 million cubic meters per year) in the underground water basin called the « Vosges Sandstones ».

The three environmental associations sitting on the Local Water Commission condemn the solutions proposed by this commission: water savings by households, no savings by industry and a massive transfer of water on a distance of 30 to 50 kilometres (the Suez group is in charge of this study). Without any assessment of the environmental impacts and despite climate change warnings, the Vosges Departmental Council has already provisionally funded a first phase of the works in March 2016.