17 items tagged "Germany"

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Drought warning: Could eastern Germany run out of water?

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 09 July 2019 12:59

Agriculture is already affected by an ongoing draught in Germany, but what about personal water supplies? Experts weigh in on what can be done to minimize the problem.

Turn on the tap - and nothing comes out? Around Germany most people know this only from burst pipes or repair work. But in the second dry summer in a row - and following record-breaking temperatures in June - regions like Lusatia in the eastern German state Brandenburg face a problem: If it continues to rain so little, water supplies could become scarce. 

This is completely new for Germany, which has led authorities to look to places like California and China which have been grappling with drought for a long time.

"So far, water stress has not been a relevant issue for us," says Jörg Rechenberg, a water expert at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

"The noticeably prolonged drought in the summer of 2018 makes not only scientists and authorities, but also the general public, aware that water scarcity is a problem or can at least become one. Distribution disputes, for example between water suppliers and agriculture, are already foreseeable.”

The situation cannot be overlooked: the Elbe and Oder rivers running through eastern Germany carried so little water, even before the start of summer, that sandbanks and rocks were left exposed.

In the middle of Magdeburg, ships could no longer moor at the beginning of July; in Dresden, freight traffic on the water was no longer possible as the Elbe River lost 50 centimetres of water in three days.

Four German Cities are now Blue Communities!

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 25 October 2018 18:13

October 25, 2018

Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project and honorary chairperson of the Council of Canadians welcomed four German cities to the Blue Communities Project this week. The Blue Communities Project  is a global initiative aimed at promoting local policies that recognize water and sanitation as human rights, keep water and sanitation services public and stop the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities.

The city of Augsburg voted on October 24 to become a Blue Community after a visit from Barlow earlier in the week. Augsburg is the fourth city so far to adopt the project in Germany. Municipal water provision in Augsburg dates back to 1412 when the first wooden water tours were built. The city is applying to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its historic public water management systems.

On October 23, Barlow was in Berlin at a ceremony where Senator Regine Gunther, officially signed onto the project on behalf of the city. She was joined by Dorothea Harlin of the Berlin Water Table, Jorg Simon, CEO of Berlin Waterwork, and Christa Hecht Executive Director of the German Association of Public Water Operators. Hecht has been a driving force of the Blue Communities movement in German and was one of the main organizers of Barlow’s tour in Germany.

In 2013, Berlin made history by terminating a contract with Veolia for drinking water services Veolia. The city had previously bought back shares from the private consortium RWE after many years of strong public opposition to the privatization of drinking water services. Today the German city is taking it a step further through the Blue Communities Project.

Barlow was joined by the Lord Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter at a public event at the Marienplatz. The Lord Mayor spoke out against the privatization of water and of the importance of the human right to water before officially pledging his city’s commitment to the Blue Communities Project.

The city first voted in favour of the Blue Communities Project in October 2017 through the leadership of the Munich Wasser Allianz, making it the first German Blue Community. Barlow’s visit allowed for the campaign to be officially and publicly announced.

The city of Marburg also voted to become a Blue Community in July 2018.

As Barlow notes, the Blue Communities Project in Germany is led by local community activists who aim to send a strong message about local opposition to the privatization of water services and the commodification of water resources.

Read more on the website of the Council of Canadians

Berlin has become Blue Community - a very special World Water Day

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 05 April 2018 07:52

Today, by resolution of the House of Representatives, Berlin became a “Blue Community” on the occasion of World Water Day 2018.

The State of Berlin thus commits to truly implement the human right to water and basic sanitation within the city, and thus to make drinking water fountains and toilets extensively available free of charge in public areas. Additional principles include maintaining the water supply as a public good, protecting Berlin’s rivers, canals and lakes, cultivating international partnerships and promoting the use of tap water instead of bottled water. The last of these points is especially appropriate for projects in schools and universities, which is why the Senate specifically highlighted educational work in the field of water in its resolution. Such work ranges from explaining the quality of our tap water compared to many bottled waters (which, tests have shown, are of inferior quality), includes the avoidance of plastic waste and extends through to explaining the water footprint, particularly with respect to water in many of the foods and goods that we import from countries of the South.

After 25 years the water management in Rostock returns into public hands

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 14 March 2018 21:50

In Rostock, the largest city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the municipal company Nordwasser GmbH will take over the water supply and wastewater disposal for Rostock and 28 surrounding communities from 1 July 2018. This means that after 25 years the Rostock water management returns from a public-private operator model into the hands of the local authorities.

The municipal company Nordwasser GmbH replaces the long-standing private operator EURAWASSER Nord GmbH.

Nordwasser GmbH was founded in spring 2015 after the decision of the Hanseatic city of Rostock not to extend the operating agreement with EURAWASSER Nord, which expires in mid-2018. The private company EURAWASSER Nord is belonging to the multinational REMONDIS Group.

According to Christa Hecht (Allianz der Öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft) in the book Our public water future, "The municipalities have decried the lack of transparency and their inability to influence the private operator. Compared to other cities, prices are roughly 20 per cent higher, but this does not translate into higher quality".

Press release of Nordwasser GmbH

202.000 signatures to the Bundestag

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 05 December 2017 14:00

We demand from the Bundestag and the coming government: Germany should no longer perform as the disciplinarian of Europe, taking Greek water into private ownership must be stopped !

This was the demand on November 13th 2017 in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The petition was addressed to the EU and the (former) minister of finance, Wolfgang Schäuble. Schäuble (at the time still minister of finance) refused to accept the signatures personally. Therefore we asked members of the Bundestag to hand them over the signatures. 202.000 signatures were handed over to M.P. Sevim Dagdelen who promised to transmit the message to the Bundestag. Meanwhile more than 205.000 people signed the petition.

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

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 22 August 2017 07:24

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.

How water supply in Germany would be affected by CETA, TTIP and TiSA

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 14 July 2016 15:01

Note: The summary below is about the potential effects of the currently prepared EU trade/investment agreements CETA, TTIP and TiSA in regards to public water supply. The summary shows the results of a survey relating to the provisions on water supply, sanitation and wastewaster disposal services in these agreements. The survey is based on papers that have been officially published by the EU Commission as well as a continuous and in-depth investigation beginning in 2013. The survey is being complemented by five sheets relating to technical basics and offering reading aid for the texts and annexes of the agreements. The survey was accompanied by a close and continuous exchange with academical and institutional experts including the BDEW German Association of Energy and Water Industries. The summary below is focussed only on water supply and leaves out sanitation and wastewater disposal services. Explanations on technical terms can be found in the survey.Due to given capacity this survey is only available in German on the website of Stadtwerke Karlsruhe. It is noted that the following summary represents the view of Stadtwerke Karlsruhe and that mistakes cannot be ruled out. It is meant to be a contribution to an objective debate and increased understanding of the agreements regarding water supply. In regards to TiSA no conclusions can be drawn as no current information is available. Non-commercial use of the summary is permitted as long as the source is quoted and a copy is sent to Stadtwerke Karlsruhe.

The pdf file of the summary

 

Berliner Wassertisch: The most important steps

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 17:59

In 1999, the Federal State of Berlin was facing the same problems as many other underfinanced cities and regions in Europe. It had debts of around € 34.8 billion. The administration in Berlin had only one solution to this problem: it had to save money and privatize public services. The Maastricht Treaty was cited in justification of this political course of action, as it required EU Member States to “consolidate” their budgets. This policy of privatization, generally known as PPP (Public-Private Partnership), was pushed through against the wishes of the population. Between 1994 and 2007, public property worth € 13.7 billion was sold off in Berlin. Today, Berlin’s debt level amounts to € 62 billion. Policy then was based on the principle of “Private can do everything better”. There was thus no political power left that could give expression to the citizens’ wishes.

berlin

Then direct democracy stepped into the gap

Foundation-meeting of the Berlin Water Assembly

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 29 November 2013 08:54

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.

Berlin Water Charter

Category: Reports & Publications
Created on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 21:22

Wassercharta

Preface

The private shareholdings in the Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) were bought back by the State of Berlin in late 2013. We wish to take this further and democratise both Berliner Wasserbetriebe and water policy as a whole, and so achieve transparent, socially just and environmentally sustainable water management in Berlin.

This demands a complete return of the formerly part-privatised company to ownership of the State of Berlin. To this end, the Berliner Wassertisch has drawn up a draft water charter for Berlin. Our intention is to develop this draft further by means of a broadly-based debate within society. We wish to bring together all the different areas of expertise on the subject of water in our city, and to invite Berlin’s population to actively participate. We regard the Berlin water charter as the basis for statutory regulations and as a guide for Berliner Wasserbetriebe.

Berlin Water back in Public Hands

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 12 September 2013 09:27

The deal between the Berlin Government and Veolia seems to be finally negotiated: For 590 M€ (+54 M€ extras) Berlin will buy back the 24,9% shares of the Berlin Water Company (BWB), which have been in the hands of Veolia since 1999. After RWE had sold its shares (24,9%) for 658 M€ in 2012 the biggest municipal PPP-Project in Germany has come to an end.

This is a big success for the 666000 Berlin citizens who opened the way to this remunicipalisation by a referendum in 2011, the first one ever won in Berlin.

Veolia quitting Berlin Water – at long last!

Category: Press Releases
Created on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 15:00

According to an information released by the government of Berlin only a few days ago the French enterprise Veolia has announced its readiness to give up its 25% share in the Berlin Water Company and sell it back to the public sector. This would mean complete remunicipalization of Berlin Water, as Veolia is left as the only private shareholder since last October. The announcement came as a surprise, for up to now Veolia had repeatedly stated its intention to stick to its still ruling influence in the company or at least to retain a minimum share.

Letter to Merkel against Water Privatization

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 02 November 2012 17:21

 


The European Crisis will be exacerbated by a privatisation of public services.

Dear Chancellor,

With great concern and support for the common project of a united Europe, we do not only follow the Euro-crisis but also the austerity conditionalities imposed by the EU, ECB and IMF on countries such as Greece. In particular, the commissioned privatisation of public goods, amongst them the water services, will not be favourable to the reconciliation of the Greek economy and will at best lead to a short-term decrease of debts. This is contrasted by the sell-off of core elements of public services which, with good reason, both in our constitution and in several EU treaties is given a high status. The federal government has stressed this elevated status of (German) water services in opposition to the European Commission’s strive towards liberalisation and privatisation more than once.

A Fraudulent Remunicipalisation in Berlin

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 01 November 2012 17:02

Latest developments in the parliament of the City State of Berlin that took place last Wednesday (25th October 2012). 

The SPD / CDU coalition agreed to buy back RWE’s 24.9% share in the Berlin Water Company for EUR 654 million, even though RWE had already amortized more than the sum it paid in 1999. This high price is based on an estimate of RWE’s profit over the next 16 years until 2028. But this pales into insignificance compared to the terms of a new contract with the other private partner, Veolia, which, as far as we have been able to ascertain, is concluded for a further 30 years.

Contract Renegotiation at the Berliner Wassertriebe

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:55

Press release of the Berliner Wassertisch.

On 13 February 2011, a referendum initiated by citizens (“Unser Wasser” = Our Water) was won by votes from 666 235 Berliners. It required the disclosure of the sales contracts, secret until now, concerning 49.90% of the water in Berlin. This victory will bring about the withdrawal of RWE and Veolia from the “Berliner Wasserbetriebe” (BWB, the water company in Berlin).

Campaign started in 6 cities in Germany

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 21:22

Ver.di, the German public service trade union has officially started the campaign ‘Wasser ist ein Menschenrecht’ in Leipzig. Over 130 trade unionists and members of supporting organisation joined the fountain event on 21 June and collected signatures. In Germany the campaign is carried out by a coalition of groups that in the past already campaigned for public control over water and good, safe and affordable water services for all. In five other cities people promoted the campaign and collected signatures: Berlin, Hamburg, Dortmund, Augsburg and Munich. The German groups have set a national target of 150.000 signatures, this way providing for 15% of the total number of signatures needed in Europe!

Berliner Wassertisch

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:56

Berliner Wassertisch is a local network of representatives of different groups, initiatives and interested citizens joined under the common theme "Water belongs to us all - water is a human right". As a local area network, they are fighting the partial privatization of the Berlin water companies.

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