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.
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.
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.
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.
The Indian Express - The municipal body’s financial losses from water works has reportedly increased by Rs 60 crore per annum, leading to demands, from both opposition parties and the local community, for the ouster of the private player.
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.
Business day Live - Water is an essential natural element, but around the world, it’s also an artificially endangered resource. That would explain why the parties represented at a recent international conference on water rights in Lagos ranged from remote towns with hand-pumped wells to modern public utilities in European cities. Precisely because water is universally in demand, it faces boundless threats of exploitation, in countries rich and poor.
At UN meetings in Addis Ababa, private finance has been touted as key to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals, but campaigners argue that public finance is more reliable and more likely to secure the human right to water for all.
While TTIP is currently attracting the most attention, more trade agreements are looming. In July, world leaders holed themselves up in back rooms to discuss TiSA, an extensive service agreement intended to put (public) services, like the water supply, in the hands of the international market.
The question of how to finance water and sanitation is crucial. Leading international institutions emphasise the role of private finance despite major concerns. The idea that private finance can bring the needed investment is remarkably persistent in global policy circles and leads to a dangerous lack of attention to the far more realistic option of mobilising public finance for infrastructure to provide essential services 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.