Public water and participation win in Lazio

The first law in Italy for a public and participative management of the water, presented by citizens and municipalities, has been approved

After the formidable outcome of the June 2011 national referendum, following a two years process connected with practices experienced by commettees and several municipalities of Lazio, after pressing for 12 months the Regional Government, today, March 17, at last, the Popular Law proposal nr 31 for the public and participative management of the water services of Lazio Region has been approved unanimously.

This law aknowledges the referendum result, starting from the definition of water service as a service of general interest not subject to profit-making purpose, up to the allocation of a fund aimed to support the remunicipalization of present services. This law, at last, reinstates the central role of the local authorities, by outlining the optimal territorial districts on the basis of the hydrographic basins and making it possible for the municipalities to form consortiums and to commit the service also to public subjects, assuring in the meantime the participation of the local communities in the management of this essential good, also with respect to the future generations.

The debate in the Council Meeting Room was absolutely no easy and the first session was prolongued late in the night and adjourned to this morning. The permanent presence of the commetteees and municipalities representatives revealed determining and contributed to neutralise the attempts of obstructionism or modification of the key principles of the law.

Pressure from citizens and movements has absolutely to be maintained during next few months, when at regional level fundamental legislative acts , such as the hydrographic basins law or the new standard of co-operation agreement, shall be developed. These events will constitute the opportunity for actually implementing the principles quoted in the law approved today and exploiting the field of participation activated by. In the meantime we expect that, according to the approved law, the communities presently at risk of forced inclusion in the operator of the reference ATO (optimal territorial district still configurated as per the previous legislation – editor's note) are guaranteed to be free to adopt alternatively an indipendent ownership and management of the water services. With this respect the only negative point in the today debate was the lack of courage of the majority in confirming clearly this principle.

Anyway today we celebrate the event together with the commettees of the other regions that presently are working for the approval of analogous laws.

Hope a chain reaction be activated, at last, starting from Lazio, so that regional governments conform to the citizens will and to the right to water, especially in this moment when a threatening wind of privatization blows from the national government.

In order to analyze the content of the law and the relative outlook we invite the press and the citizens to a press conference tomorrow, March 18, 11.30, at the premises of the Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l'Acqua (Italian Forum of Water Movements), via S. Ambrogio 4, 2nd floor in Roma.

Coordinamento Regionale Acqua Pubblica Lazio