Letter to the MEPs on the MEP Water Group

In mid November a group of MEPs tried to relaunch a lobby group inside the European Parliament that pretends to be water related. However, the stated aim of this group of MEPs does not consider the effort of European civil society for the past decade to achieve the human right to water at the European level.

The MEP Water Group is composed by some MEPs that have a terrible track record on the promotion of a human right based approach for water and they seemed to be more concerned about the interests of lobby groups and industry.

The European water movement has sent a letter to the members of the European Parliament clarifying the issue and demanding that the EU recognises water as a human right, like almost two million citizens demanded ten years ago during the first ever ECI. We have also demanded for a clear position against the quotation of water in the stock market as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation concerned.

We will continue to demand, as our Naples chart states, the recognition and implementation of the human right to drinking water and sanitation as necessary for life. Access to water as a universal human right should be included in all constitutions of member states, and in the basic principles and acts of the European Union and that Water is to be excluded from all international trade agreements, including the treaties of the World Trade Organisation and to be excluded from the internal market rules of the European Union. The MEP Water Group does not neither of them. 

See the letter here :

Dear MEPs,

In the name of the European Water Movement we would like to inform you that the initiative of the MEP Water Group does not recognize as a priority that water is a human right, as recognized by the UN, through the Resolution 64/292 adopted in 2010.

We call the members of the MEP Water Group and the members of the European Parliament as a whole to consider, recognize and implement the right to water, as requested by nearly two million people in 2013 through the European Citizens Initiative. We remind you of the three pillars of the ECI, which have still not been implemented in EU law:

  • Guaranteed water and sanitation for all in Europe as a Human Right and common good.
  • No liberalisation of water services. It also means the exclusion of water from trade and investment agreements.
  • Universal (Global) access to water and sanitation.

We would also like to draw to your attention the need to consider water as a public good, a human right and a common good that you fail to address in the MEP Water Group mission statement. We believe it would be more appropriate to work for a statement against quotation of water in the stock market. To this regard, we remind you of the grave concern expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and the European civil society that contrasts with the unacceptable silence of EU institutions.

We would be happy to exchange on this issue,


European Water Movement meeting in Barcelona - Final declaration

On October 1, 2 and 3, the European Water Movement met in person in Barcelona to analyze the current situation in this time of climate crisis and pandemic, review the main water issues and plan its activity in the short and medium term. This meeting brought together more than 40 people from 9 countries (Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Serbia).

In the context of the climate emergency, it is urgent to address in a participatory manner the impacts of climate change on the availability of water resources and the management of extreme events, which will intensify.

For recognition of human rights to water and sanitation

The COVID 19 pandemic has had a significant impact with a significant increase in poverty and situations of social and economic vulnerability. The availability of water, a common good, fundamental for life, hygiene and health, has become a central issue. Many governments have taken positive social protection measures to secure water supplies and ban water cuts, which are now receding. As part of the recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation, the European Water Movement calls on governments:

  • to maintain or generalize these measures to prohibit water cuts,
  • guarantee vulnerable people a free minimum supply which covers their basic water needs and enables them to live in dignity,
  • improve the content of the European directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption, which does not systematically take up the demands of the citizens' initiative right2water when transposed into state legislation.

For public water management and a fight against the grabbing of water sources

The European Water Movement continues to be firmly committed against privatization and the grabbing of water sources.

We note with satisfaction a slow but significant increase in remunicipalisation processes, which, in many cases, have been carried out in the face of radical opposition from private lobbies. However, there is still firm resistance in favor of privatization and with clearly insufficient governance and citizen participation mechanisms.

We note with great concern the European policy in favor of private players as defined in the Next Generation EU plan and int the related national Recovery Plans. On the other hand, the growing influence of financial actors in the development of water and sanitation service infrastructure imposes a speculative logic that predominates in the financial world. Water cannot be a financial asset whose value is established in financial markets.

We consider rivers, aquifers, lakes and wetlands to be common goods. Their management must therefore be carried out on a non-profit basis and according to criteria of solidarity, mutual cooperation, collective access, equity, democratic control, sustainability and non-deterioration of water bodies. We are therefore very concerned about the construction of hydropower plants in rivers and protected areas, especially in the Balkan countries. 

Participate and contribute to the success of the Alternative World Water Forum

The European Water Movement calls on all citizen movements acting in favor of the cause of water to participate in the Alternative World Water Forum which will take place in 2022 in Dakar, Senegal. The European Water Movement will be present there and will bring the requirements indicated above. Finally, the European Water Movement sets itself the objective of improving its contacts with organizations that share its struggles at the international level.

Attendees of the meeting in Barcelona

The Red Aqua Pública demands from the Ministry of Health that the process of transposition of the European directive on water for human consumption be participatory and transparent

Translation in English of the press release from Red Agua Pública

9 June 2021

On 16 December 2020, the Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the Directive 2020/2184 on the quality of water intended for human consumption. This legislation replaced the then existing legislation dating from 1998, which was clearly outdated. The revision of the directive was largely motivated by pressure from the Right2Water Citizens' Initiative "The right to water and sanitation as a human right", which was supported by nearly 2 million European citizens and many social organisations who argued that water supply cannot be governed by internal market rules, must be left out of the liberalisation process, and must meet strict conditions of information, public participation and accountability, all in the general context of the recognition of the human right to water.

Although the European Parliament took on board the demands of the Right2Water initiative, in the process of revising the 1998 directive, a significant part of the citizens' demands were relegated to the background, so that the directive approved in December 2020, although it represents an important step forward with respect to the previous one, does not cover the fundamental part of the citizens' demands expressed in the Right2Water initiative.

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union, the government has set in motion the process of transposing the new directive into Spanish law. This process, which is being led by the Ministry of Health, is being carried out in an opaque manner without encouraging citizen participation in an issue in which they should have a special presence, considering the defining principles of the human right to water.

In this context, the Red Aqua Pública has written to the Minister of Health -see attached letter-, denouncing this circumstance and offering its collaboration so that the transposition of the European directive includes the citizens' demands that were overlooked in the directive approved in December 2020. The letter has been sent to the heads of the Ministries of Consumer Affairs and Ecological Transition, as they are also directly involved in the process.

More information by :

Leandro del Moral 620666912
Pedro Pablo Serrano 649824397
Gonzalo Marín 646559647

The Red Aqua Pública (RAP) is a space that brings together dozens of platforms, social, environmental, trade union and political organisations in Spain that promote a vision of water as a commons and public service, and fight for the defence of public, non-profit, transparent and participatory management of water supply and sanitation services.

Letter to the Minister of Health

Tesla's Gigafactory endangers our water and ecological resources

13 August 2021,

At a rally at the Brandenburg Gate, activists from the Wassertafel Berlin-Brandenburg highlighted the threat Tesla's Gigafactory poses to the water and ecological resources of Berlin-Brandenburg. In addition to the speeches, a performance took place in which the people of Berlin, represented by the Berlin Bear, and Elon Musk, represented by the wolf in sheep's clothing, clashed. The Berlin Bear was particularly concerned about the new 13,600 page (sic!) application for the construction of the electric car factory and the world's largest battery factory in Grünheide. He called on the people of Brandenburg and Berlin to submit their objections to the Brandenburg Environmental Protection Agency (LfU) by 19 August.


Good bye Tesla! The Berliner Wassertisch networks the resistance against Tesla

Press release of the Berliner Wassertisch
Berlin, 28 April 2021

The organisers were overwhelmed by the response to the invitation of the Berlin Water Council (Berlin Wasserrats) on 27 April 21 to the online conference "Is Tesla taking over Berlin's water?": Interested parties came not only from Brandenburg and Berlin, but also from Freiburg and Saarbrücken, Munich and Toronto. The European Water Movement (EWM) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) also showed interest. 

Dorothea Härlin, co-founder of the Berliner Wassertisch, pointed out in her introduction: "We, the Berliner Wassertisch, did not fight for years for the remunicipalisation of the Berlin water company (Berliner Wasserbetriebe) and co-founded the Berlin Blue Community, only for Tesla with its production, which is extremely questionable in terms of its eco-balance, to take our water and pollute it even more - the situation is bad enough as it is."

Spokeswoman Ulrike von Wiesenau comments: "On the outskirts of Berlin, the construction of a car plant without final government approval is proceeding at breakneck speed. Every day, new elements are discovered, although fundamental questions, such as the issue of groundwater, remain unresolved. The lack of transparency, the ignored agreements and the reference to trade and business secrets are not conducive to a climate of trust."

During the debate it became clear that many environmental groups and associations have been fighting against Tesla for a long time, but so far they have not been able to stand alone against this gigantic company. Everyone agreed that with all this accumulated knowledge and the current and future network of many actors, they could nevertheless do something against a global company that only thinks about profit.

A first requirement of this still young alliance is, as Erwin Nolde, a wastewater engineer and co-founder of the Blue Community in Berlin, says: "Tesla must at least apply the same standard as Volkswagen. Volkswagen installed its own water recycling system with its own wastewater treatment even before the Second World War. This is now the standard in almost all large companies. We call on policymakers to issue no more partial permits, and certainly no final permits, until this measure is implemented by Tesla."

All participants agreed on this demand and on the fact that this online conference will be the starting signal for further joint actions. The various contributions also showed that the local resistance of the inhabitants against the destruction of their "paradise", as one participant of the Grünheide citizens' initiative (BI Grünheide) put it, is extremely important. The production of electric cars as a supposed salvation against climate change was also repeatedly questioned. 

With the experience of the Berliner Wassertisch in its fight against global companies, such as RWE and Veolia at the time, much can be expected from this new alliance.

Press contact: Ulrike von Wiesenau +49(0) 1573-4077795