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Water

Private versus Public

To The European Ombudsman
Why won't the European Commission answer our letter about European Communities being forced to sell their water?

15 May 2011 Sign On Letter to the Commission on Water Privatization

26 September 2012 Letter from the Commision

17 October 2012 Letter to the Commission

The Official Complaint Form

World Social Forum Tunisia 2013

Food & Water Europe will participate in the World Social Forum on water, fracking and food sovereignty issues; as part of the of the newly formed European Water Movement which fights to stop the “assetization” of our natural commons.

Learn more.

There is a battle brewing over who owns water. A resource as vital as water should not be exposed to the highest bidder. In the past decade the privatization of water resources in Europe has seen a rapid increase and big companies have profited from this.

Many private companies are providing worse service at a higher cost than most public utilities.

The private management of public utilities has been promoted as a way to bring efficiency to public services to save money for both taxpayers and water customers. Communities that have experimented with privatization have found that it does not solve their water woes. In fact, consumers face steep water rate hikes, rapidly crumbling infrastructure, excessive leaks, water service disruptions and unaccountable management.

FEATURED REPORT

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

Download the PDF. 

Examples in France with Suez Environnement, and Belgium with Aquiris/Veolia have shown the effects of mismanagement of water by the private sector. Italy has succumbed to the pressure from private companies and passed a new law (the Ronchi law) putting the water sector up for grabs to the highest bidder. However, good examples are emerging around Europe; Paris for instance was long held as the water privatization poster child. After the failures of private industry involvement in the water sector, the city is now at the forefront of a movement to regain public control over their water resources. Find out more about the Paris success story.

Global Water Summit 2011
Executive Director Wenonah Hauter got the inside scoop on what the water industry is up to at the 2011 Global Water Summit in Berlin. Check our her blog post: The Next Big Thing In Industry: Water Profiteering
Water managed by the public sector is a better choice, as it will lead to a more responsible and accountable management of our water resources to ensure that water will be clean, safe and affordable for all.

European Citizens' Initiative

Funding Clean Water

Food & Water Europe promotes the right to universal access to clean and affordable water because it is a human right and a common good.

While private water companies often promise to improve the quality of aging, underfunded water systems, research continues to show that public management and operation of water systems is cheaper and more efficient than private management and operation.

We should be able to count on the EU, our national governments and our regulators to oversee and protect the quality and safety of our water, which should be free of control by businesses looking to turn a profit.

Instead of irresponsible private investment schemes, we need to plan ahead for future generations and create a dedicated source of public funding so that communities across Europe can keep water as a vital resource.

How Food & Water Europe is Helping

Food & Water Europe serves as a clearinghouse for information and an ally in organizing to ensure that water — a public resource — stays in public hands.

We provide support for the water movements in Europe, be it citizen initiatives, elected officials or other NGOs who are fighting to protect their water from corporate control.

Food & Water Europe also supports the European Citizens’ Initiative. The ECI is a new tool launched by the European Commission to help citizens play a more active role in the European political process. The first ECI launched in April 2012 will focus on the human right to water.