Today is World Water Day when we highlight the United Nations resolution on the Right to Water and Sanitation. On 28 July 2010 the UN General Assembly voted for a resolution which declares that access to water and sanitation services is a fundamental human right.
Although this resolution has no binding authority, it expresses global consensus, with the shameful exceptions of a few EU member states. Governments should dedicate the necessary resources to ensure universal access to water and sanitation at an affordable price. Most governments can afford to do this, yet choose not to. This is a political problem, not a market problem.
The EPSU has repeated its support for the European Pariament declaration to keep the management of water resources not subject to internal market rules. It also states its support for public ownership and management of water and water utilities. Privatisation has induced inequalities and exclusion and has often led to steep water-rate hikes, water-service disruptions and unaccountable management. A recent trend is a return to public management of water services including major cities like Paris.
Water and sanitation services are a fundamental responsibility of governments and must not be outsourced for private profit. Whilst we have a public service in Scotland it is constantly threatened by contractorisation, costly PFI schemes and a well financed business lobby.
Water and sewage are vital public services that our families and communities depend on. Water is life.