The water industry in England: A case to answer

This report by the New Policy Institute analyzes what has happened to the water industry in the UK since it was privatised by Thatcher in the late 80s. In a nutshell: very high profits fuelled by debt creation and low investments, and bad performance. The initial local then international corporations have now been mostly replaced by financial players.

The full report by the New Policy Institute (pdf, 410 Ko)

Water Alternatives

“Water worldwide becomes ever shorter. That is why we want to control the sources“.

Helmut Maucher, CEO Nestlé 1990 – 1997.

The Water Resources Group was launched in 2008 as an initiative coming from Nestlé, Coca Cola, Pepsi Co and the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank. Its aims are to “transform the water sector” by bringing the corporate sector into what has traditionally been a public service.  Despite the fact that the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman reported that 40% of complaints received from all regions in the world were water related and that in Europe, especially in France, Italy and Germany, there are strong social movements reclaiming public control of water, the World Bank and the bottled water industry uses their combined power to push for water privatization through Public-Private Partnerships. 

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Public-Public Partnerships: An alternative model

Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs) allow two or more public water utilities or non-governmental organizations to join forces and leverage their shared capacities. PUPs allow multiple public utilities to pool resources, buying power and technical expertise. The benefits of scale and shared resources can deliver higher public effi­ciencies and lower costs. These public partnerships, whether domestic or international, improve and promote public delivery of water through sharing best practices. 

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Austerity Measures in Europe and the Right to Water

In July 2010 the United Nations General Assembly finally adopted resolution 64/292 recognizing the human right to water and sanitation. In order to ensure that the newly recognized right served as a tool for social movements and frontline communities, Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians and Blue Planet Project) wrote and released the report: Our Right to Water: A Peoples' Guide to implementing the United Nation's Recognition of Water and Sanitation as a Human Right. (available in EN, FR, ES, PT)

As part of a series of reports as additional chapters to Our Right to Water, several reports examine the status of the human right to water and sanitation from the frontlines of struggles across the globe. They provide insight and analysis into how our allies around the world are promoting the human right to water and sanitation in their countries against a backdrop of land grabs, mining injustice, economic austerity and environmental racism. 

Our Right to Water: Case Studies on Austerity and Privatization in Europe

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