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.”

She added, “There is very little evidence that the introduction of metered water charges will serve any benefit to the environment, yet the potential social and public health costs of restricting access to more marginalized segments of the population are very high.”

Read more on the Irish right2water blog

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

STAL welcomes water remunicipalisation in Mafra

Press release - December 11th, 2016

The municipality of Mafra, which was the first municipality to privatize water and sanitation services in Portugal, makes it precisely 22 years ago, decided on last 9th od december, unanimously, to terminate the concession agreement with Be Water.

The decision was taken after the private operator submitted a request for tariff increases of 30 percent, which was considered "unacceptable,", said the municipality in a statement.

In order to carry out the redemption of the concession, the municipality promoted an economic-financial and legal study, concluding that full municipal management of services will reduce tariffs by up to five percent, and therefore, instead of a worsening, domestic consumers may benefit from a reduction in the water prices.

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Fighting for Water Democracy in the EU following the right2water ECI

SaveGreekWater has participated in the 2-day work meetings of the event «Fighting for Water Democracy in the EU following the right2water ECI» organised in the European Parliament by the Independent MEP Sofia Sakorafa with the support and presence of MEP Lynn Boylan from Ireland, MEP Stefan Eck from Germany and MEP Joao Pimenta Lopez from Portugal. In the context of this event and as part of its actions in tackling water privatization in Greece, SaveGreekWater announced the deposition of an official request to the European Council for disclosing any information relevant to the transfer of water services at the new privatization superfund (H.C.A.P.) dated after the 1906/2014 decision of Greece’s Council of State which had judged as unconstitutional the privatization of water services either by stock percentage or by management privatization. According to European Law, the European Council is obliged to answer to this request in 15 days. It is worth noting that any pressure to privatize water is in violation of the article 345 of the EU Treaty and it is furthermore contrary to the suggestions of the European Parliament’s resolution that urges the European Commission not to push the countries under financial programs as to this matter.

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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.

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