The European Water Movement asked associations and collectives, who acted for the return of public management of their local water services, to describe the citizens' participation mechanisms in service management (implemented, being implemented or desired mecanisms), and to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. In this article, Dorothea Härlin from the Berliner Wassertisch presents the case of Berlin.
First Remunicipalization - then Democratization!
An interim report on the democratization status of Berlin’s water management
Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) has been 100% back in public ownership since 2014, after 24.9% shares had been sold to both Veolia and RWE following the familiar PPP model. As with all PPP contracts, this scandalous contract was secret. In 2011, however, after the first people’s initiative referendum to be won in Berlin (“Our Water”), the contract had to be disclosed. This placed Berlin’s politicians under such pressure that they bought back RWE’s shares in 2012 and Veolia’s shares in 2013. BWB has thus been remunicipalized since 2014.