Public control of water rises
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

The re-municipalisation of water services around Europe continues to rise, according to a report by the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour. The study, Comparison of European water supply and sanitation systems, compares national water supply and sanitation systems and analyses the associated governance systems.


Re-municipalisation means the return of privatised provision of water services into public control.


The report highlights the negative impact of privatising water services, noting that it results in deteriorating supply and increased prises. The study also found that privatisation of services leads to reduced investment in infrastructure.


Fórsa, which represents water staff in local authorities and Irish Water, has been campaigning for a referendum to underpin public ownership of water and sewage services.


Fórsa and other unions had pressed the issue as part of discussions on the future status of Irish Water and its relationship with local authorities.


The new report says that the increased public debate on the organisation of water supply and sanitation has resulted in the trend of re-municipalisation. However, it warns that the negative impact of privatisation on water services is not reflected in economic policy at EU level, in either internal market or foreign trade policy.


The report adds that there is a need for financing of public services to be better protected from fluctuations in financial markets.


You can read the English language summery of the report here and the full report is available here.

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