We commemorate World Water Day 2015 by celebrating the struggles and victories of the global water justice movements. These achievements are a testament to the strength of our ties of solidarity and the resolve of communities to protect watersheds and maintain control over water services.
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.
It had been billed as a summit to push for universal access to water, but attending the Budapest Water Summit held last week felt like grasping at a mirage of water in a desert. The slogans and appearance were attractive, but held no prospect of delivering the human right to water for all.
Recent plans to cut funds for the UN's water related work - meaning support for water operator partnership (WOP) alliances would be lost - is a major threat to the great progress which has already been achieved and threatens to undermine the provision of universal access to clean public water.
Water justice activists gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia in August 2008
to envision just and sustainable models of water stewardship and to
build alliances that will bring these visions to fruition. A compelling
visual insight into a dynamic international movement building practical
alternatives to privatization.
The EU's announced fund of 40 million Euros to support “non-profit partnerships” of water and sanitation utilities in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific is the latest evidence that the corporate push for water privatisation has been forced on to the back foot.
TNI's Water Justice project supports public, effective, participatory public water services that are socially just and ecologically sustainable. TNI’s water work forms part of its work on Public Sector Solutions and is embedded in the Reclaiming Public Water (RPW) network made up of public water utilities, trade unions, academics and citizens from 58 countries.
In May 2000, a Fortune Magazine piece claimed triumphantly that the “liquid everybody needs – and will need a lot more of in the future – is going private,” and as a result would benefit “multitudes of poor people.”
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.
The Central Jakarta District Court on 24 March annulled the water privatisation contracts of Suez (PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya – Palyja) and Aetra, finding that the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) were negligent in fulfilling the human right to water for Jakarta’s residents.
In the last 15 years there have been at least 180 cases of water remunicipalisation in 35 countries, both in the global North and South, including high profile cases in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.