TNI's Water Justice programme is marking this year's UN World Water Day in Cape Town at the GWOPA (Global Water Operator partnerships Alliance) Congress, in the continuing struggle to reclaim public water.
While water privatisation continues to be imposed throughout the world, particularly in the Global South, more and more communities are demanding public management of water and wastewater services and forcing out private actors. On World Water Day we bring you 10 inspiring stories of communities and cities working to reclaim control over this essential resource.
Water Justice organisations from around the world jointly produced an online water justice toolkit to consolidate our knowledge base and support local campaigns against the corporate takeover of water.
The water management situation in the region of Catalonia, Spain is catastrophic. The omnipresence of the private water sector is creating hugely negative impacts at the economic, social and environmental levels. As a result, Catalan municipalities are being swept by the wave of water remunicipalisation that is taking place across the globe, and the drive to recover public management of water systems is gaining force.
Thruthout - Private companies have been working to make a profit from water since the 1600s, when the first water companies were established in England and Wales. The first wave of water privatization occurred in the 1800s, and by the mid- to late-19th century, privately owned water utilities were common in Europe, the United States and Latin America, and began to appear in Africa and Asia.
After 18 years of underperforming private management, water services in Jakarta could be returning to public management to guarantee the human right to water in accordance with the Central Jakarta District Court ruling of 24 March 2015, which annulled the current contract agreements.
International Water Justice community sent the petition to the Supreme Court of Indonesia. Residents of Jakarta filed a citizen lawsuit against water privatisation in Jakarta at Central Jakarta District Court in November 2012. They argued in the lawsuit that water privatisation failed to fulfil the residents’ access to safe water, caused a series of corruptions and financial harm to the public budgets. In March 2015, the court ruled in favour of the residents, annulling the contract agreement with two private water operators. It was a significant victory of people. The decision, however, was challenged by these private companies and other defendants. Unfortunately the residents lost in the High Court in February 2016. Jakarta people decided to challenge the High Court ruling at the Supreme Court.
Public water operators and social movements from 90 countries gathered in Barcelona in mid-September to reflect on how to consolidate a public model of water provision and how to address critical issues of financing clean water for all.
Business Day Live - IT IS 8am as Hassan Abdullahi lugs his handcart loaded with six jerrycans of water up the slope to God’s Grace Calabar Kitchen. This is his third trip from a private water tap to his major customer.
Reclaiming Public Water has been one of TNI's most successful publications, obviously meeting a need in many countries and many languages. The latest in the series, which includes Spanish, Bahasa Indonesian, Italian with more to come, is Chinese, in a translation undertaken by our friend in Hong Kong, Au Ly. This is my preface, which he has now also translated. The book will be mostly distributed in Hong Kong [where people are fighting against privatisation of the public water system] and Taiwan, but Au has hopes that through the internet, people in mainland China will also be able to access it.
A return to public forms of administration in water supplies is a phenomenon that has been spreading globally. Over the past 15 years almost 235 cities around the world, among them Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur have either terminated or have desisted from renewing the contracts with private concessionary companies. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and the Scandinavian countries, for example, water delivery is, by a tradition, almost 100 percent public.
The largest Public-Private Partnership in water sector in Germany ended in 2013 after the longstanding social mobilisation. Remunicipalisation cost a high price for the city of Berlin though. Berliners have striven for new challenges.
Spain maybe on the edge of a remunicipalisation renaissance, with all the relevant legal, financial and technical issues attracting surprisingly intense interest throughout the state. These trends in Spain provide inspiring examples for other countries too, in Europe and worldwide. On 1st December Barcelona City Council organised a remarkable conference on the topic.