Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Water Flowing Back Into Public Hands

Water Flowing Back Into Public Hands

The announcement by the Paris municipality that water services will return to public hands by 2010 is in line with a global trend of ending privatisation of such services. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced Jun. 2 that the municipal administration would regain control of all water services for the city, ending a private monopoly that has lasted more than 100 years.

The contracts with the world’s two biggest water service companies, Suez and Veolia, will not be extended after Dec. 31, 2009. “We want to offer a better service, at a better price,” Delanoë said. “We also promise that prices would be stable.” Delanoë said his administration will encourage other municipalities in the Ile de France region around Paris to end privatisation of water services.

“That France, once known as the heartland of water privatisation, is embracing a return to public management of water services, is a strong signal in this new pattern,” Olivier Hoedeman of the Water Remunicipalisation Tracker told IPS. The group, a sub-division of the Amsterdam-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and the Transnational Institute, documents the decline of water privatisation.

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A victory! This is good news and a good trend we need to see across the globe. Water is a public trust. Hopefully, the information put out about the effects of water privitization has helped this along. This is just the beginning.

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