A nuclear landfill in Trgovska gora would put at risk all the Una river basin

The Republics of Slovenia and Croatia are the owners of the Krško nuclear power plant (50:50), which will operate until 2043. The power plant is located on the border between Slovenia and Croatia on Vrbina site. All radioactive waste generated by the operation of the nuclear power plant, as well as the one that will be produced during its decommissioning, is in 50:50 ownership of the two states and they need to find a common solution for its disposal. Slovenia proposed to dispose the waste at the place of its origin (territorially it would be in Slovenia), while Croatia continually changed its demands, and by that avoiding common solution. For a long time, Croatia was claiming that joint disposal with Slovenia was too expensive, and when Slovenia started to make inexpensive and acceptable offers Croatian officials changed the story. Then Croatia demanded to store radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel and other waste material in one place.

The main catch is that waste material include not only those from the Krško nuclear power plant, but from all over Croatia. Slovenia does not accept all waste material from Croatia, so Croatia is pushing for the construction of its own landfill. 

The story that Croatia needs to build its landfill in Trgovska Gora starts in 1999 when it emerged in public. From then protests and petitions (13000+ signatures) are being organized. Because Trgovska Gora located at the border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) it triggered the revolt of the population on both sides of the border.

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12 and 13 June 2011: the yeses win the referendum! 9 years have passed or 9 centuries ?

12 and 13 June 2011. Twenty-seven million Italians repeal article 23 bis of Law Decree no. 112 of 2008 which obliged the privatization of public services, including water management.

An act of direct democracy that is immediately put down by the technical government of Prof. Monti, with the assignment of the SII’s management (Integrated Water Service) to ARERA (Market Regulation Authority) which adopts a tariff system with structural profit margins and other protection systems for the private operator that make a big leap forward to the neoliberal policies in Italy, against the popular will.

In June 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 emergency, the rule of law is completely abolished.

The simplest constitutional rights have collapsed: education, justice, health (except for intensive care for COVID-19), restraining the free movement of people, the economy and, of course, collapse of the right to work.

After the lockdown, phase 2 begins, which mainly concerns measures for the reopening of economic and commercial activities, decided after long negotiations with Confindustria, while the implementation of the pandemic plan remains on paper, as well as the exercise of constitutional rights, including the free movement of people which will arrive only in June on the national territory.

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Manure pollution from the Osona and Lluçanès springs in 2020

The Grup de Defensa del Ter has been analysing the nitrate concentration in springs located in the counties of Osona and Lluçanès for 19 years and this year the historical record for nitrate concentration was broken in one of these springs. The analysis was made possible thanks to 53 volunteers from the Grup de Defensa del Ter who visited 164 springs, 13 of which were not flowing. The average nitrate concentration was 72 mg/l, while the WHO has set the limit for the drinking water purification at a nitrate concentration of 50 mg/l. The average value this year is slightly lower than in 2019, which was 76 mg/l, although the difference is not significant enough to assume that there has been a real decrease in pollution. We still have almost half of the contaminated springs, about 45%.

The Gana spring in Calldetenes with 492.2 mg/l of nitrates was the most polluted this year, beating the historical record since the beginning of the analyses in 2002, followed by two springs usually on the podium, the Gallisans spring in Santa Cecília de Voltregà, with 465.8 mg/l, and in third place, the Cassanell spring in Taradell, with 344.80 mg/l. Last year, the first prize was awarded to the latter source, with 456.8 mg/l. This year, however, the Gana spring is at nearly 500 mg/l of nitrate, a value 10 times higher than what the WHO allows for the drinking water purification. This is undoubtedly the highest value we have found in 19 years of source analysis.

Read more in Catalan on the website of the Grup de Defensa del Ter

Turin : a new stop to the long march towards water remunicipalization

On June 5th, 2020, at the end of a three months “de facto” suspension of constitutional rights, taking advantage of the inability of the Italian citizen to express themselves at the time, a blocking minority of small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city has rejected the proposal of the city of Turin to remunicipalize SMAT S.p.A. the local water company owned by them but ruled under Italian commercial law as private profit making company, thus stating that water is not a commons but a commodity. As a matter of fact, SMAT tariffs and water bills not only recover full operation and investment costs, but also the return on invested capital, i.e. profit.

The long march of the Italian Water Movement towards implementation of the Referendum of 2011 outcome is stopped once again by a political centre-right coalition led by the Democratic Party, disregarding popular will expressed by 25.609.701 i.e. 96,32% voters, to exclude any profit from water management and provision.

The only way to comply with the pronouncement of Italian people is the transformation of SMAT stock company into a non-profit company governed by public law whose mission is not profit but just the full cost recovery to guarantee to everyone the human right to water and sanitation services.

The Municipality of Naples achieved the former ARIN SpA remunicipalisation into ABC Naples soon after the Referendum of 2011, thus putting the accounts right, improving the quality of water supply and keeping water bills below the national average. Conversely, small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city, imbued by the mercantile culture of “profit über alles”, have constantly refused to follow the Naples example.

Despite the stop they have presently imposed to water remunicipalization, the Water Movement does not take a step back : it is committed to the coming renovation of local City councils where values and principles of water as a commons could finally prevail.

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua
Comitato provinciale Acqua Pubblica Torino

http://www.acquabenecomunetorino.org
acquapubblicatorino (at) gmail.com
+39 388 8597492

Water privatisation? Finland says no!

In early January 2020, the municipality of Jyväskylä, located in the Central Finland Region, announced its intention to part-privatise between 30 and 40 per cent of its multi-utility company Alva, including water, energy and heating. Bringing in expertise from the private sector would better equip the company to tackle current market challenges, the municipality stated. Moreover, mirroring water privatisation arguments elsewhere, privatisation was said to promise increased efficiency and lower consumer prices. However, the announcement led to an immediate public outcry. Several critical opinion pieces appeared in various Finnish daily newspapers, and activists from the Left Alliance party launched a public petition to push the Finnish parliament into action. On 10 February, Jyväskylä announced that it had withdrawn its proposal. In this post, Dominika Baczynska Kimberley and Andreas Bieler trace the dynamics underlying this quick turnaround.

It all started with a misunderstanding. Misleading headlines in Finnish daily newspapers, which became further amplified via social media, suggested that the municipality planned to sell 100 per cent of its water services company. Many drew an immediate parallel to state-owned energy company Fortum’s sale in 2014 of its energy network to Caruna—a large private company with foreign shareholders—which had resulted in drastic increases in electricity transmission prices.

The common consensus was that when it comes to natural monopolies such as water, the public ought to retain ownership of infrastructure rather than lose control to large private—and potentially foreign—companies. Commentators, moreover, pointed to similar water privatisation experiences in the Estonian city of Tallinn in 2001, when a 50.4 per cent sale of water was made. Despite claims of increased efficiency and lower prices, the deal led not only to enormous corporate profits for foreign shareholders and higher prices for consumers (which only went down last year), but also to significant layoffs, as a third of the staff was made redundant and senior management replaced by British executives.

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