Critique of political economy of water and the collaborative alternative

The approach and recognition of the water (and in general, water supply and sanitation) as a commons, a social good and a fundamental human right or vice versa, as a commodity and / or as a means for taxing citizens determines the policy management: private, public, social, based or not on democratic participation of citizens and workers[1].

The results of the private management of water, which is applied worldwide, are now known: degradation of water quality, increased water loss, deterioration of infrastructure and increasing prices[1][2]. The results of the public or social or public-community, based on cooperation between public and local and regional bodies, cooperatives, trade unions and other collectives of a community are also known: accomplished citizen involvement, strengthened quality water services and lower prices[1][3].


The Tube

el tubo

“Algeria has proposed to make a water transfer from the Rhone or the Rhine to «satiate the thirst of the desert», because it considers that «Europa is being warmed» by the gas sent across the continent through pipelines and is entitled to receive the same treatment”

World Water Forum, April 19, 2011.


Natural Capital Accounting and the Financialisation of Nature

Natural capital accounting is the latest effort to financialise our air, water, forests and land by putting a price on nature to save it. In the name of sustainable economic development, focusing on our natural capital, or environmental "assets", the theory claims that if private companies and countries account for environmental resources used in the production of other goods - accounting for their cost to the environment - we can better see the sustainability of our current economic path. The hope is that this knowledge leads us to mitigate the chances of degrading natural resources beyond their renewable capacity.


Cost recovery and pricing in the Blueprint

On November 14, the European Commission adopted “A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources”, commonly known as the Blueprint. The Blueprint is made of 18 measures intended to increase the EU’s political efficiency in the field of water policy. These 18 measures were put forward after evaluation of the European legislative framework of water management through a procedure called Fitness Check. The Fitness Check identified inconsistencies, deficiencies and difficulties in implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD ) adopted in 2000 as well as various associated policies (urban wastewater, nitrates, groundwater, flooding...). Most of the measures suggested by the Blueprint have to do with the economic and financial aspects.