The European Water Movement lends its support to “Les Soulèvements de la Terre”

For the past 2 years, “les Soulèvements de la Terre” has been leading or joining forces in the fight against a multitude of absurd projects that are harmful to the environment and nature, in particular water-related projects such as the mega-basins at Sainte Soline.

In the face of popular support and the symbolic significance of their actions, “les Soulèvements de la Terre” has been subjected to a campaign of denigration and stifling, ranging from accusations of eco-terrorism to an attempt by the government to dissolve the organisation. This campaign has just suffered a major setback with the suspension of their dissolution by the courts. This is a 1st victory, as this fundamental decision remains temporary.

The European Water Movement, share not only the fight against mega-basins, but also the idea that the struggle to preserve the common good that is water is intimately linked to the other struggles highlighted by “les Soulèvements de la Terre”. We are also convinced that these struggles know no borders.

The European Water Movement therefore :

  • Calls on its members and all those who can to join the current water convoy, which will arrive in Paris on Saturday 26 August;
  • Calls on the French government to cease its relentless efforts to dissolve “les Soulèvements de la Terre”;
  • Lends its full support to “les Soulèvements de la Terre


The SEDIF project is not viable from the point of view of European water policy either. On Tuesday 18 July, the European Parliament's Petitions Committee gave urgent consideration to a petition initiated by our association and took a series of measures to support it. This successful action concludes our campaign as part of the public debate which ends on 20 July, and opens up a new direction for our fight over the coming months. Update of 20 July: the Chair of the Petitions Committee, Ms Dolors Montserrat, has acknowledged the admissibility of the petition and the action taken (letter to be downloaded below).

Update of 20 July: Download the letter from the Chair of the Petitions Committee.

With several co-signatories, we filed a petition with the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions on 12 May 2023. It is registered under number 0478/2023 (it must appear on the European Parliament's website within four months of submission).

On Tuesday 18 July, the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions held an urgent examination of the petition concerning the Syndicat des Eaux d'Île-de-France's plan to use low-pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) to treat drinking water.


European Water Movement meeting in Brussels (13-15 April 2023) : Final declaration

On April 13, 14 and 15, a meeting in person was held by the European Water Movement (EWM) in Brussels to analyse the status of implementation of the Right to Water in Europe and establish a line of action towards the current critical situation of water in Europe under the threat of droughts, climate crisis, water grabbing, pollution, as well as commodification and privatization policies. The meeting was attended by over 20 people from 9 countries (Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain). This event was also an opportunity to meet some MEPs in order to discuss the future of water in Europe, to illustrate some situations at national and regional level, confirming in the meantime the need to guarantee the Human Right to Water and our position in favour of a public governance of water.

Following our letter to MEPs of last April on the 2023 UN Water Conference and the Manifesto on Water Justice addressed to the UN at the aforesaid Conference, EWM demands that the policy on water pursued throughout Europe and in particular by EU institutions, addressing the following priority issues:

  • Urgent need to preserve water resources and the universal right to water in front of environmental emergencies, pollution and conflicts of interest;
  • Public and participative government of the whole water cycle and its incompatibility with present privatization policies.


Africa Water Justice Network Condemns Apartheid Israeli Government's Irony in Showcasing Water Governance in Africa

Accra, Ghana - The Africa Water Justice Network, a Pan-African water justice group, vehemently condemns the seminar held on 10th July by the City of Tshwane in collaboration with representatives of the apartheid Israeli government, showcasing alleged "international best practices" in water governance. We are deeply concerned about the irony of the apartheid Israeli government attempting to present itself as a model for water governance, while simultaneously perpetuating human rights violations and exposing their intentions to pursue water privatization in Africa for profit at the expense of low-income communities who cannot afford market rates for water.


Letter of the European Water Movement to the EU Parliamentarians about next 2023 UN Water Conference

In view of the convocation by the UN General Assembly of the Conference on the complete mid-term review of implementation of the goals fixed in the International Decade for Action “Water for a sustainable development 2018-2028” (2023 UN Water Conference), to be held in New York from the 22nd to the 24th of March 2023, we, movements, networks, NGOs, trade unions, that are members of the European Water Movement (EWM), invite the EU Parliament and all the MEPs to actively contribute and participate to the events of the aforesaid UN Water Conference.

The European Union's Department of International Relations has developed a common position paper for Member States (MS) with topics to be addressed in the interactive dialogues of the Conference. The suggested topics include governance, climate adaptation and financing.

Regarding this position paper, the European Water Movement (EWM) shares the EU stance on the necessity to implement a Human Rights-based perspective for water management and governance, ensuring the affordability of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) and the good ecological status of water bodies, underlining the need to improve accountability and transparency, and to regulate and control the involvement of the private sector and its risks for the HRWS guarantee.

In this regard we would like to mention the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Right2Water”, promoted by the European Public Service Union (EPSU) and the EWM in 2012. ECI collected more than 1.8 million signatures advocating for the recognition and guarantee of the HRWS in the EU. The Resolution of the EU Parliament of 8 September 2015 on the follow-up to the ECI and the vague inclusion of the right to water in the recent Drinking Water Directive constitute a small step forward. However, ten years after the ECI, the EU still does not fully recognize and guarantee the HRWS as stipulated in the UN Resolution 64/292 and in the ECI. 

We also value the recognition of the urge to adapt water management to climate change and thus protect essential productive sectors such as agriculture, energy and urban planning, among others. However, restoring the natural water cycle must first be understood as the key to mitigate climate change itself, providing sufficient water in flow and quantity for healthy and sustainable ecosystems, and ensuring access to water and sanitation services for all. And thus guarantee the viability of productive systems, which depend on humans and nature. In this sense, access to water and sanitation services for all must be prioritised over productive uses.

The EU itself acknowledges the negative impacts on European rivers ecosystems caused by hydropower production and development. To the same end, we call for compliance with the Water Framework Directive, whose environmental objectives require the achievement of "good ecological status" of all water bodies, prior and sine qua non condition for energy generation or any other form of production

In this context, we demand that the issue of water be addressed at the top of the UN agenda, in its quality of essential substance of life, as a natural Human Right and as a common good excluded by any commodification, financialisation and privatisation. It is imperative that debates on water as a common good and human right be oriented towards the public interest and not shaped by the interests of corporations and global markets. To this regard, the EU and its positioning must abandon the mantra of private and innovative financing schemes. The water cycle management must be undertaken publicly through public funding.

From the EWM and in coordination with the international water movement, the People’s Water Forum, we have been following and participating in the process towards the UN Water Conference. 

It’s urgent and necessary to maintain and deepen the dialogue among all the social and institutional actors that strive for water as human right and common good so as to assure them a full participation and to avoid that the 2023 UN Water Conference be co-opted by private interests and environmental looters. In view of our experience, the risk of ending up in an undemocratic debate is real given the exclusion from participation in the Conference of many social realities and networks from all over the world, despite their consistency, relevance and recognized global value. In fact, no member of the European Water Movement has been invited to the EU Informal Water Expert Group that elaborated the EU position with the supposed participation of Civil Society Organizations. 

All of us must mobilise in order to find socio-ecological alternatives that preserve life on our planet and assure the well-being of our communities and cities. We ask your participation in this task and your firm support for a democratic governance framework of the water cycle out of any commodification, financialization and privatisation. We urge you to participate in our initiatives and to invite us to those you will set up at Community level or in individual Member States. We ask for your best effort for the implementation of the HRWS both on our continent and worldwide as well as at the proceedings of the UN Water Conference that many of you will surely attend.