18 items tagged "Spain"

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Spain fined €12 million for failing to treat urban waste water

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Thursday, 26 July 2018 11:29

26 July 2018

Nearly 18 years after deadline expired, nine municipalities still lack proper collection or treatment systems.

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered Spain to pay a €12 million fine for prolonged failure to comply with a European directive on urban waste water collection and treatment.

In an earlier judgment issued in 2011, this court had found that there were still 43 agglomerations with a population of 15,000 or more that failed to meet EU standards, even though member states were supposed to have adequate collection and treatment systems in place since 2001.

Spain was given a 2013 deadline to comply, but the deadline expired and 17 localities were still discharging their waste water without proper treatment.

In 2017, the EU Commission brought new action, and the Court of Justice has now fined Spain a lump sum of €12 million, plus a penalty payment of €11 million for every six-month period of delay in getting the remaining municipalities up to speed on their water treatment standards.

As of today, there are nine Spanish municipalities that still fail to meet EU urban waste water regulations: seven in Andalusia (Matalascañas, Alhaurín el Grande, Isla Cristina, Tarifa, Coín, Nerja and Barbate), one in Asturias (Gijón Este) and one in the Canary Islands (Valle de Güímar).

Read more on website of El País

Social agreement for water in defense of our rivers and for public water

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Saturday, 07 July 2018 11:46

March, 22, 2018

A wide range of (Spanish) civil society organizations and entities agree that we are facing a really decisive moment to recover and maintain the good state of conservation of our aquatic ecosystems, not only to comply with the Water Framework Directive and other commitments. Europeans in this area, but to adapt to the reality imposed by climate change, reduce our vulnerability to the growing risks of drought and floods and ensure sustainable use of water, with demands adapted to the resources actually available. On the other hand, we face privatization pressures, both in terms of the commodification of water rights and the privatization of water and sanitation services and even irrigation management.

The unsustainable growth of water demands, both in irrigation and urban-industrial uses, is currently one of the main problems to achieve a sustainable use of water and the good ecological status of our ecosystems.

Agbar takes Aliança contra la Pobresa Energètica to court

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 04 May 2018 15:51

The water company denounces three activists for an action performed last February, thus trying to slow down the fight for the right to basic supplies.

Barcelona, May 7th 2018

From the APE (Aliança contra la Pobresa Energètica) we have worked since we were born to stop the supply cuts in Catalonia and have confronted the large multinationals of water, electricity and gas to demand the protection of such essential rights as the access to water and energy. We have achieved jointly with the PAH (Plataforma d'Afectats per la Hipoteca) and the ODESC (Observatori de Drets Econòmics Socials i Culturals), as well as with the support of many other entities and groups, to promote a law that has stopped more than 40,000 supply cuts in Catalonia and we have located the supply companies at the center of the problem, pointing to these companies with multimillionaire benefits, as responsible for a scourge that affects more than 10% of the population in Catalonia.

As of today, Aigües de Barcelona (Agbar-Suez Group) has decided to bring to trial three APE activists for a complaint action that took place at its commercial offices in Barcelona on February 27th. With this action, Agbar demonstrates to go against those who defend the rights of citizens and choose the path of repression against organized civil society.

Environmental and social organisations and councillors from Baix Llobregat agree to create the Taula del Llobregat

Category: Press Releases
Created on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 10:34

They share the desire to build a broad citizen movement that covers the entire river basin where the need for a living Llobregat river meets the social movement for water as a commons.

Terrassa, April 2018. 

In a meeting held in Terrassa this April, various actors related to the Llobregat river met, convened by the Taula de l'Aigua de Terrassa and by ProuSal! with the intention of promoting a Taula de conca (river basin table), informing how water flows from the source to the mouth. 

This first meeting was attended by councillors from Cornellà, Abrera, Olesa and Rubí, together with the organisations Aigua es Vida, Martorell Viu, the Xarxa per una Nova Cultura de l'Aigua (XNCA), Ecologistes en Acció de Catalunya (EEAC), the Grup de Defensa del Ter (GDT), the Moviment Ecologista Sant Feliu (MES), the group Alternativa d'Unitat Popular (AUP) of Rubí and the Societat Esportiva de Pescadors d'Abrera. Also present for the University were the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability (CUS) of the UPC, representatives of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), as well as two technicians from the Terrassa City Council.

The rising tide for the democratic control of water in Barcelona

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 16 March 2018 10:38

Barcelona’s battle to take its water company back under public ownership is reaching its climax in the courts and at the ballot box.

When the citizen platform, Barcelona En Comú, crowdsourced its manifesto for the Barcelona city elections in 2015, its most popular proposal was to remunicipalize the city’s water company, Agbar (subsidiary of the multinational, Suez Environnement).

Three years on, the government is locked in a struggle for remunicipalization that epitomizes the concerns of the new municipalist movement: protecting the commons, challenging corruption, and harnessing the symbiotic relationship between institutional and non-institutional politics.

The motives for remunicipalization are numerous: a global study by the Transnational Institute in 2015 concluded that towns and cities that remunicipalize their water tend to enjoy increased quality and lower tariffs for consumers. Barcelona is no different; the water rights platform Aigua és Vida estimates that water rates set by Agbar-Suez in Barcelona are 91.7% more expensive than those in neighbouring municipalities that manage their water publicly. This is particularly important in the Spanish context, where 17% of the population suffers from “energy poverty”, meaning that they face hardship in paying their electricity, gas or water bills. In Barcelona, where 10 information points have been set up since 2015 to advise citizens on their energy rights, over 170,000 people have been found to be suffering from this specific kind of poverty.

Economic arguments aside, remunicipalization is also motivated by an understanding of water as a human right and an essential element of ecological sustainability. According to these principles, water should be governed as a commons, that is, owned and managed collectively and democratically by communities, rather than run for profit.

Read more on the website of OpenDemocracy

Remunicipalisation of water management in Valladolid

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 17 February 2017 19:50

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

Reversing The Tide: Spain Moves Into Water Remunicipalization

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 11 August 2016 09:25

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

World Wetlands Day: The European Water Movement calls to defend the Ebro Delta

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 28 January 2016 22:27

Brussels, february 2nd 2016

THE EBRO

The Ebro River is the third longest river in the Mediterranean, after the Rhone and the Nile, passing through 9 nine Autonomous Communities before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea where it forms the Ebro Delta (Catalonia).

The Ebro Delta is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in Europe. This delta area of nearly 8000 Ha was declared as National Park, recognized as being of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, recognized as Special Protection Area for Birds (SPAB - 79/409/CEE), a Community Interest Area (CIA - 85/337/EEC) and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

THE PROBLEM

The intense water consumption throughout the Ebro Basin puts the river under strong pressure and affects its ecological functionality. In particular, the Delta is the most vulnerable part of the river, altered by the drastic reduction of water and sediment flows that leads to the subsidence of the whole delta area, currently lowering at a rate of 0,3 cm per year. Climate change projections clearly indicate that this phenomenon, together with the sea level rise, will cause the disappearance of 80% of this territory in the next century.

Window of opportunity for public water in Catalonia

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Monday, 19 October 2015 12:41

The water management situation in the region of Catalonia, Spain is catastrophic. The omnipresence of the private water sector is creating hugely negative impacts at the economic, social and environmental levels. As a result, Catalan municipalities are being swept by the wave of water remunicipalisation that is taking place across the globe, and the drive to recover public management of water systems is gaining force.

The Catalan quasi-monopoly in water

The privatisation of water services today affects roughly 84% of the population of Catalonia, through either mixed corporations or fully private companies. This situation is quite unique given that, to the contrary, the great majority of water systems are under public control globally. Furthermore, the region’s water management landscape has two distinctive characteristics.

First, private companies are concentrated in medium-sized and large population centres. Although more than half of Catalan municipalities have public water services (507 compared to 437 where these services are privatised), they only represent 16% of the population. We are therefore talking about small municipalities, where it is hard to benefit from economies of scale and where the return on investments is lower than in the bigger cities where private companies can expect to make profits.

Second, a handful of companies share the water market. For example, 90% of municipalities with private water management are served by companies from the Aigües de Barcelona group that operates in 24 countries – also known as AGBAR and a subsidiary of the French water multinational Suez. Under the AGBAR umbrella we find companies such as the Societat General d’Aigües de Barcelona (SGAB), SOREA, CASSA, Aigües de Catalunya, Mina Pública de Terrassa, Aigües de Girona, Aigües de Tarragona and many more. It is worth noting that AGBAR has managed water in the city of Barcelona since 1867, with the latest change taking place in 2012 when a mixed company was created, under 85% private and 15% public control.

Read more on the website of TransNational Institute

March 2014: Demonstration against the Hydrological Plan for the Ebro basin

Category: Agenda
Created on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:09

Demonstration in March 30th by the Plataforma en Defensa de l'Ebre (PDE) to reject the Ebro hydrological plan. It will start at 11:30 from Sant Jaume d'Enveja and it will finish in Plaça de l'Ajuntament in Deltebre.

The Spanish Government approved in an incomprehensible way a hydrological plan for the Ebro basin that involves building 43 new dams and 450 000 new hectares of irrigated land (now there are 950 000). The plan doesn't consider impacts of climate change nor the sediment input in the Ebro delta, threatening its survival.

This plan means an infringement of the Water Framework Directive. Catalonian population is invited to the demonstration organized by the PDE to put a halt to this plan.

Alcázar de San Juan keeps fighting for public water

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 20:48

The neighbors of Alcazar de San Juan have locked themselves inside the city council for 72 hours to demand a binding referendum on water privatization, a proposal backed by 11,000 signatures from a town of 32,000 inhabitants. Despite the outcry, the city council rejected the proposal and tentatively awarded Aguas de Alcázar (the municipal service of water) to Aqualia, a company belonging to the group FCC (Fomento de Construcciones y Contractors) for 25 years.

Despite the decision of the council, which was in favor of privatization due to the casting vote of the mayor (he cast the deciding vote amongst 10 votes against and 10 in favour), the population of Alcazar kept demonstrating on Friday afternoon. More than 5,000 people went through the streets shouting "Yes we can", "If you also take a shower, join the fight", "Water is not for sale, water fights back" or "Ortega resignation". They arrived at the headquarters of Aqualia and read an impromptu statement in which they said that 'the most important thing in this process are not the answers we receive, but the questions we ask" and explained that the mobilization would continue.

Proposal for a new water management model in Madrid

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Sunday, 13 October 2013 16:16

The Plateforma contra la privatización del Canal de Isabel II initiated a debate on the water management model of the Canal within the framework of the Campaign for Transparency. They involved organizations, trade unions, 15M assemblies, political organizations and the public to find an alternative model, which could be defended before the current PP government or before future governments.

River Ebro Challenge

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:22

We, people from the Ebro Delta Region in south Catalonia, would like to invite you to acknowledge and support our campaign to protect our river, its Delta and ecosystems and our livelihoods. The Ebro Delta is one of the most important wetland areas in southern Europe, but is extremely fragile.

We have handed in a Petition to the European Parliament in order to ask politicians to take action against the Ebro River Management Plan which, as it is formulated now, would cause an environmental disaster and the disappearance of 80% of the territory in 50 years.

The Ebro River Management plan draft is affected by economic fraud, technical incoherence and a serious lack of democracy in its elaboration.

Fight for the Ebro River Delta

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 12:55

Support the fight for the Ebro River Delta!

Sign the petition: http://dmadeltaebre.blogspot.com.es/

THE RIVER

The River Ebro is one of the longest rivers in Spain, with a length of 930 Km and a River Basin of 86,100 Km2. Its source is in Fontibre (Cantabria), and it passes through nine Autonomous Communities before flowing into the Mediterranean sea where it forms the Ebro Delta (Catalonia). It is the third longest river in the Mediterranean, after the Rhone and the Nile. Its ecological richness is recognized at national and international levels. Most of the Delta is a National Park, recognized as being of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention. It is a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPAB - 79/409/CEE), a Community Interest Area (CIA - 85/337/EEC) and, furthermore, it is currently under review to be declared a Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO).

Warning to MEPs about Suez Agbar visit in Barcelona

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Thursday, 28 February 2013 11:44

The Spanish members of the European Water Movement have written to Members of the European Parliament with their concerns about a visit by Suez-Agbar to Barcelona today on 28 February 2013.

Respected Parliamentarians of the European Union,

As you will be aware, Suez-Agbar have invited you to visit, on 1st March, water installations in the Barcelona region. We would strongly urge you to both send this letter to the members of your party and to not take up the invitation. The fact is that the planned programme is biased, failing to provide alternative views from all interested parties throughout Spanish society, such as NGOs.  These elements and opinions are essential, especially when dealing with public services and the environment.

The Platfom Aigua és Vida (Water is Life) and the citizens of Barcelona need your support

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 21 February 2013 10:34

The Platfom Aigua és Vida (Water is Life) and the citizens of Barcelona need your support, please sign the MANIFESTO of support here.

Many of us are suffering every day the impacts of water privatisation. In Catalonia the monopolist and for-profit approach water service is widely extended, having most of the municipalities their water service privatised and managed by AGBAR, subsidiary of the french multinational SUEZ. The contempt and impacts of SUEZ all over the world is well-known for all of you, with some rellevant examples like the cancellation of the contracts in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Córdoba (Argentina), La Paz y El Alto (Bolivia), Atlanta (UEA), París (France), etc, or the strong opposition in El Saltillo (Mexico), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jakarta (Indonesia) or Manila (Philippines), among many others.

Conflict in Barcelona/Catalonia - Creating a new company without concession

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 17:15

Opposition grows to Agbar’s home rule

A heated debate is raging over the legality of a recent concession award to Spanish water services company Agbar. The outcome could have major repurcussions for the company’s footprint in its home city. The recent decision by the metropolitan area of Barcelona (AMB) to award a 35-year integral water cycle concession for greater Barcelona to Spain’s largest private operator Agbar without an open tender is facing concerted opposition from private sector water operators, NGOs and municipalities.

The Process of Privatizing The Canal Isabel II

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 15:01

Update on the current situation

On 30th May, the Madrid government announced its decision to give up for the time being, the privatization of the Canal Isabel II. Due to the actual economic situation posing an obstacle to its sale to private companies. However, it still announced the creation of a 100% public limited company, called Canal de Isabel II Gestión SA to manage the full cycle of water.

On the 6th of June, the board of directors of Canal Isabel II approved the establishment of the new company, signed off the inventory of assets and statutes of the new company and its program of activity, even though the vote was opposed by the company’s work council, a representative body of workers and management. Its members had not received sufficient information to formulate a position on the establishment of the new company.

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