Water is a Human Right

All citizens need clean drinking water and quality sanitation. This petition asks the European Union to guarantee these human rights through the promotion of water supply and sanitation as essential public services for all.

The campaign behind the petition has three main demands;

Guaranteed water and sanitation services for all in the European Union. We believe that the European Union must implement the human right to water insofar as water and sanitation services are subject to European law (as a service of general interest). The European Union must promote national implementation of this human right by setting binding targets for all Member States to achieve universal coverage.

Human Rights above market interests: No liberalisation of water services. We want the EU to change their mind-set from its current focus on competition and completely market-based approach, to a public service attitude and a rights-based approach. Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health. It is a ‘natural’ monopoly and must be kept out of internal market rules.

Global/Universal access to water and sanitation for all. We believe that the EU should make a bigger effort for water and sanitation to be enjoyed universally. The EU must set targets and make the achievement of universal (global) access to water and sanitation part of its Development policy. By doing so the EU will actively promote that the right to water and sanitation can be enjoyed globally.

Scotland’s public water service is constantly under threat from the lobbyists who want to privatise our water. These forces are using the economic crisis to promote privatisation across Europe as this article at Euractive shows. Bailout deals in Greece and Portugal include commitments to privatise public water services. Somewhat ironic when German and French cities are taking back their water services into municipal ownership.

David Hall, who heads the Public Services International Research Unit at the University of Greenwich, says water privatisation is a mistake both politically and operationally, leading to higher prices and disgruntled customers.

“In terms of operating efficiency, there is really no visible difference between public and private sectors,”  adding “there is no evidence at all to support the widely asserted view that the private sector is more efficient.”

“There is actually very strong public resistance to the idea of water privatisation, and indeed even stronger resistance to the experience of it,” he said, noting that some city and regional governments have reversed course and resumed control over water services.

So please sign the petition and protect public water services in Scotland and the rest of Europe.

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