It’s a waterful life
The privatization of water

Is water an essential need? And if so, do we all need it? How can we separate the need from the wish? The truth is that for some people it is a need, a vital one, whereas for others it’s just a desire, just a way to have some fun or pass the time.

It is a good so good that it hurts. It hurts continents for instance. Not to go far away from the point of starting writing this article, just a little bit south from Greece there is a place called ‘Africa’. And it could live happily ever after with the water flowing through pipes, directly to the taps of people’s houses. Oh, which houses? Never mind, it seems this plan is too idealistic and too non-profitable for an enterprise to actually implement it, especially if an even more profitable one steps in the way: the plan of privatization of water. Why do we need tap water if we can carry liters of it after buying it bottled at doubled or even tripled prices?

‘Such a continent is not developed’, somebody could argue. Then again Turkey, being a developed state with one foot on European and one on Asian ground, considered as one of the richest countries according to official and quasi-official economical surveys, is incapable of providing its citizens with drinking tapped water. The inherent right to be given drinking water seems to not be so inherent. About 5 companies have taken over the role of collecting water, filtering it properly, lessening it from heavy metals and bottling it into 5-liter (or bigger) plastic bottles; ready to be consumed immediately after selling it to some medium-sized enterprises in order to be sold at prices higher than the taxes to the cog of the wheel: the people. Even so, Europe differs much from Africa and Turkey, but in reality, not that much. Pressure of liberalization and privatization of all public services is created by the new European Union economic policies, such as imposing stricter limits on public finances. In 2010, the UN declared water and sanitation as human rights. It obliges governments to provide their citizens with accessible, affordable, safe and clean water and sanitation. The European public services unions will launch a “European Citizens’ Initiative” to promote the implementation of this human right and oppose the liberalization of water services at EU level.

Such a seizure of power of the EU changed the outcome of the coup in Italy for the waterworks. The no-votes against the privatization had overcome the percentage of 90 and Berlusconi had been coerced to sustain it, thus blowing up the plans of some of the biggest multinational companies. The latter have the capability of providing some governments or ranking groups of the EU with “personnel”. After just a few months, Berlusconi was overthrown by the groups of the EU, the procedures of whose were characterized openly as “politics of a coup”.

Furthermore, in the “neighborhood” outside of the EU countries, water privatization is promoted both by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), despite the failures that have already occurred under this policy.

Behind closed doors, oligarchic globalists periodically meet and discuss what is best for humanity and the planet, according to them and their megalomaniacal self-interests. For many years now, this all important topic of water privatization and control as a convenient and most effective means of addressing the overpopulation problem has been regularly tabled for discussion. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere in America, Nestle’s intolerant CEO stated: access to water should not be a public right. Who restricted the selling of this company’s products for instance? No-one, nowhere.  

Organizations encourage the teamwork with the citizens and vice versa. The CEO is among the winners of the World Citizen Prize for battling to keep water out of the internal market. As for Thessaloniki, a non-binding referendum was held in May 2014, resulting in a 98% vote against water privatization. This citizen-led initiative mobilized 218,002 voters and sent a crystal clear message rejecting the planned sale of 51% of EYATH shares to private investors the Troika is demanding a selloff at the maximum level possible without directly conflicting with the court ruling. Commission was urged to stop pushing water privatization. The European Commission has been warned that imposing water privatization as part of the bail-out packages for struggling EU economies threatens access to water for the poorest and could be in breach of EU legislation. This was done in an open letter to Commissioner Olli Rehn, signed by more than 20 civil society organizations and trade union movements from across the world. Unequal access, broken promises, environmental hazards and scandalous profit margins are prompting municipalities to take back control of this essential service.

Filling in the blanks, the specter of water privatization is once again haunting the people of Europe. From the 1980s to the 2000s, water privatization was promoted by multinationals, right-wing politicians, and international institutions, including the European Commission. This was successfully resisted by popular campaigns, which halted and even reversed water privatization in almost every country in Europe, and in many other countries around the world.

But the threat has now returned once again. Because Lao Tzu is a classic, I’ll end the article with his famous quite: “water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth”.