British water companies are caught avoiding tax

British water companies are avoiding millions of pounds in tax by loading themselves up with debt listed on an offshore stock exchange, an investigation has revealed.

The disclosure is likely to reignite the public outcry about legal tax avoidance by big firms at a time when Britain is drowning in debt and suffering painful public spending cuts. It comes only a week after industry regulator Ofwat announced that water bills would rise by an average of 3.5 per cent to £388 a year. Corporate Watch found six UK water companies took high-interest loans from their owners through the Channel Islands stock exchange. Interest payments on the loans reduce taxable profits in the UK and, thanks to a regulatory loophole, go to the owners tax free.

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Warning to MEPs about Suez Agbar visit in Barcelona

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.

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Water situation in Slovakia

The Government of the Slovak Republic adopted the Landscape Revitalisation and Integrated River Basin Management Programme at the session on 27 October 2010. It recognized that dueto the farming methods (not only) in our territory the landscape’s ability to hold water was substantially weakened. The Programme was based on the principles, rules and framework conditions for ensuring flash flood prevention, drought risks and integrated river basin management.

The Landscape Revitalization Programme’s main tool consisted in improvement of rainwater retention. It set a goal to restore landscape water retention capacity of at least 250 million m3 in damaged parts of the landscape. The costs or financial aid from public funds were set at 4€ per cubic meter of water retention capacity of an element, measure or system.

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The Italian Constitutional Court Blocks the Privatization of Water

Big victory for the movements, the Constitutional Court blocks the privatization of water and local public services.

Today, 20th July, the Constitutional Court has given back the voice of the Italian citizens and the democracy of our country.

It does so by declaring unconstitutional, therefore inadmissible, Article 4 of the Decree Law 138 of August 13, 2011, by which, the Berlusconi government, stomped on the referendum result and re-introduced the privatization of local public services. This ruling also blocks all subsequent amendments, including those of the Monti government.

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

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.

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2012 Alternative World Water Forum Declaration is Published

Over 150 organizations (trade unions, water-users’, environmental, humanitarian and altermondialist associations, NGOs from thirty different countries and international networks), in addition to hundreds of people, have already signed the declaration of the participants issued at the conclusion of the Alternative World Water Forum. Please share its ideas, make the declaration widely known, sign it and get others to sign it, so that the current in favour of water as a commons can become overpoweringly strong!