Drinking water privatization - what is the current status?

The announcement that the drinking water supply should be privatized had led to massive civil protests. What has become of this and how the EU Commission now stands to privatize drinking water can be read in this article.

Water as a commodity

The intention of the EU was to create uniform rules for the award of concessions for services such as water supply. That privatization of the water supply was intended and that water should become a commodity has angered many citizens, and massive protests have occurred over the past two years.

Above all, price increases in water are feared, as well as quality losses in the supply of drinking water, when water should become a freely tradable commodity. The fears are not entirely unfounded.

Withdrawal from the EU

The EU Commission then backed down. Privatization of the drinking water supply is unable to deliver the quality citizens expect. In addition, "the internal market would be fragmented by the privatization", it was called in mid-2013 by the EU Commission.

The resolution therefore stipulated that the drinking water supply should not be privatized EU-wide according to uniform criteria, but should remain in the hands of the water utilities.

The reason for the withdrawal was a citizens' initiative with more than a million signatures of concerned citizens calling for "water as a human right" rather than a commodity like any other. The Chancellor had also warned that the water market would be liberalized. Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner expressed her satisfaction with the withdrawal of the EU.

According to the current state of affairs, water management is therefore exempt from privatization - only the areas of energy supply and heat are now being privatized within the EU. The final decision was made on 23 May 2013.

Another problem could be the ongoing TiSA negotiations - the service agreement between 50 international states. The privatization of the water supply is once again an important topic in the agreement alongside international temporary work. However, since all negotiations are conducted in secret, it is impossible to judge the current state of affairs. In any case, at the end of June the USA reported "progress in the field of drinking water privatization".

Tips & Tricks

Taking the quality test of drinking water critically into your own hands might be necessary in the future. The price you can not change much anyway.

Video Board: Privatization & Water Don't Mix