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

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.

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Jutta Schütz

Dear friends of Jutta,

We are devastated to have to let you know that our dear friend Jutta Schütz has passed away. All of you will remember Jutta who was politically active for Aquattac and the European Water Movement for many years. All of you will also know that Jutta suffered under a debilitating disease. And even though her husband, Rainer Schütz, noted that her political work helped her stay strong over the years, Jutta nevertheless could not find the strength to continue and has therefore left us all too soon.

We deeply mourn the loss of a friend and political companion. Rest in peace, Jutta.

MEPs letter on the Alternative World Water Forum in Brazilia

As elected representatives of the European people we want to express our solidarity with the Alternative Water Forum that is happening in Brasilia from 17th March until 22nd in a very difficult political context.

The organizers of the Alternative Forum believe that public policies related to water should be democratically discussed involving the populations and mainly the involved communities. We believe that this is correct and we would like support them in their struggle not to sell water assets without a popular mandate.

We support the effort of several International, European and Brazilian organisations in the promotion of the Forum as a continuity of the previous Alternative Water Forums such as the ones organised in Daegu (South Korea) and Marseille (France).

The abovementioned events were opposed to the World Water Forum which is a forum organised by large economic groups defending the privatisation of natural sources of water and public services outside of the frame of the United Nations. In that regard, we believe that the 8th World Water Forum has no purpose or political legitimacy and it should not receive any official backing from elected officials.

It is a business fair aiming to promote the market to transnational companies focusing on the water and sanitation sectors. Is a closed door event that does not allow civil society and independent operators to have their say. Only big corporations have privileged access.

Since 2010 the United Nations resolutions has recognized that water and sewage are fundamental rights in 2012 almost 2 million European citizens signed the ECI right2water. There is no life without water and it is a public welfare that must be shared among all humanity and other living beings. Water is a common good. This lead us to understand that water management needs to consider the interests of local communities, especially those excluded or silenced by the strong voice of the market, through a democratic process of debate and decision on projects that interfere in water and land uses, particularly in cases of water infrastructure projects. At the international arena should be the United Nations and their agencies, like UN-Habitat or programmes like GWOPA that organise these kind of forums.

According to the UN, about 663 million people in the world do not have access to adequate water supplies, 946 million practice outdoor defecation with the social and health implications that this has. In Europe, the European Commission admits that over 20 million people have problems to access to water and sanitation. Gender inequality is also impacted by lack of access to water. Scarcity and poor distribution lead women to travel long and steep distances to get water. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warns that more than 800 children under the age of 5 die every day from diarrhea associated with lack of water and hygiene. This has to stop!

We call to the European Commission to legally enshrine the Human Right to Water in Europe, to fully promote this Human Right globally and to boost a more democratic and sustainable management of our resources.

Signatures of MEPs collected by the European Water Movement

Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL - PT)
Dario Tamburrano (EFDD - IT)
Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA - ES)
Sergio Cofferati (S&D - IT)
Lynn Boylan ((GUE/NGL –IE)
Liadh Ní Riada (GUE/NGL –IE)
Matt Carthy MEP (GUE/NGL –IE)
Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL –IE)
Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL –NL)
Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL –IT)
Marie-Pierre Vieu MEP (GUE-NGL, FR)
Luke Ming Flanagan MEP (GUE/NGL - IE)
Patrick LE HYARIC (GUE/NGL-FR)
Helmut Scholz ((GUE/NGL- DE)
Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL- ES)
Javier Couso Permuy (GUE/NGL-PT)
Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL-EL)
Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL- IT)
Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL- DE)
KUNEVA Kostadinka (GUE/NGL- EL)
Sabine Lösing MEP (GUE/NGL – DE)
Xabier Benito Ziluaga (GUE/NGL- ES)
Merja Kyllönen (GUE/NGL- FI)
Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL - EL)
Carlos Zorrinho (S&D - PT)
Julie Ward (S&D - UK)
Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL - IT)
Guillaume Balas (S&D - FR)
Rosa D’Amato (EFDD - IT)
Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD - IT)
Eleonora Evi (EFDD - IT)
Piernicola Pedicini (EFDD, IT)

European Water Movement statement from FAMA in Brasilia

Last week (17-22 March 2018) a delegation of around 20 members of the European Water Movement, participated in the Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA, Foro Alternativo Mundial da Agua) in Brasilia: the concrete alternative to the World Water Forum, organised by the World Water Council, which represents the voice of transnational corporations and the World Bank.

Social movements, unions, local communities, feminist groups and indigenous peoples gathered to fight against the purpose of corporations to transform water in a commodity and promote financialization of water bodies and ecosystems, privatising resources and commodifying a human right.

FAMA was a warm and hopeful event, gathering 7000 activists from different places and facilitating exchange about challenges, experiences and solutions. One more time the importance of deepening and strengthening positions and connections between social movements, unions, indigenous people and local communities was confirmed. It also emerged how crucial it is to focus on women’s struggles against privatization of nature and patriarchy.

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The European Commission once again disappoints citizens that supported the Initiative for the Right to Water

Brussels, 31st January 2018

Today European water advocates said the leaked proposal for a new Drinking Water Directive is disappointing and doesn’t meet the expectations of the citizens and organisations that supported the first successful European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) on the right to water. The review of this directive was framed by the Commission as their only answer to the ECI. Five years later, this draft doesn’t meet any of the demands supported by nearly two million people.

Elisabetta Cangelosi, member of the European Water Movement said, “Five years waiting for an answer and the result couldn’t be more disappointing. Although we welcome the timid attempt of the Commission to include provisions about universal access to water and the emphasis on minorities and vulnerable groups, this text has nothing to do with the human right to water recognized by the United Nations and demanded by citizens”.

The Human Right to Water as defined by the United Nations implies that water and sanitation must be physically accessible, safe, acceptable, sufficient and affordable. The draft Drinking Water Directive addressed just the first three aspects.

David Sánchez, director at Food & Water Europe added, “The proposal from the Commission simply ignores the main challenge for the Human Right to Water in the European context, affordability. With thousands of families having their water cut-off in Europe in recent years for not being able to pay the bills, guaranteeing access is not enough. We need political courage from the Commission to challenge private companies that make profit out of water management to really implement this human right in Europe”.

The proposal also includes provisions to promote free access to water in public spaces, including public buildings, but it falls short as this provision is not specific about it being tap water.

Jutta Schütz, member of Wasser in Bürgerhand added, “The Commission vague wording allows the interpretation that installing vending machines with bottled water would be enough. We need to close this gap so the Drinking Water Directive is coherent with the efforts to get rid of plastics at the European level such as the Plastics Strategy or the Circular Economy Package, and to challenge this unacceptable, environmentally-damaging industry”.

Contacts

Elisabetta Cangelosi, European Water Movement, +32 488 08 00 21 (mobile), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David Sánchez, Director, Food & Water Europe, +32 (0) 485 842 604 (mobile), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jutta Schütz, Wasser in Bürgerhand, +49 (0) 157 390 808 39 (mobile), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.