7 June, 2007
With global warming, droughts as well as floods have put water policy back on the political agenda. Nevertheless, the terms of the political debate are very much framed by the big water companies (Suez, Veolia and others) and therefore the proposed policies are to a great extent technical instead of political. Whoever is not convinced about this, should try reading the EU’s Water Framework Directive, the “toolbox” for EU water policy as presented by Commission Director Grant Lawrence during an interesting conference in Brussels organised on 7 June by Friends of Europe with the support of the European Water Partnership.
Most speakers at the conference agreed that the EU has a strategy with the necessary tools to deal with the climate change challenges to water, but Riccardo Petrella of the World Water Contract spoiled the consensus by hitting at the “water management approach” which is “based on the interests of the private companies“. Petrella wants water to be seen as a basic human right and not as a commodity. His question “where are the citizens” in these policies never got any real answer from the rest of the panel.
It is clear that the European water policy still lacks the instruments to make citizens aware how precious our water is. Where is the European water-savings action plan?
For other views on this subject, see BlueGold, the blog of the European Water Partnership.Author : Willy De Backer