One year before the Alternative World Water Forum (known by its French acronym FAME) will take place in Marseille 2012, various peoples’ movements around Europe have witnessed landslide victories. Increased citizen participation has played a major role in the issues of water supply management and wastewater treatment, allowing these movements to take giant steps towards remunicipalization, or bringing the water back under public control.
This week we have an inspiring story for you from Berlin, Germany. 12 years ago, almost half (49.9 percent) of the Berlin Water Works (BWB) was privatized under Veolia and RWE. This led to price increase of 35 percent, one of the highest of any German city. Due to negotiated conditions, the Berlin Senate and the private investors decided to keep these contracts secret. As a result, a peoples’ initiative called the “Berliner Wassertisch” began challenging this and started a citizen’s referendum aimed at obtaining the publication of these contracts.