World Water Day: 15 Environmental Organisations call for water management under public control

World Water Day: 15 Environmental Organisations call for water management under public control

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On the occasion of today’s World Water Day, the undersigned environmental organisations express our full opposition to the abolition of Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Enterprises and the promotion of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) for the management of the country’s water. In this way, water is being transformed from a vital public good into a commodity and citizens will be faced with increased costs, poor environmental management, and potential risks to public health.

We call on the Greek Government to respect the will of the majority of citizens, the decisions of the Council of State regarding the public nature of water, the views of the scientific community and not to proceed with the privatization of the most important public good.

The Government, through the Minister of Rural Development and Food, has announced its intention to abolish the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Enterprises and merge them into a Single Water Management Body for each Region of the country, while some of them are expected to merge with the Water Supply and Sewerage Enterprises of Athens-Piraeus and Thessaloniki. This merger will violate the principles of proximity and subsidiarity, as water-related issues will not be managed at the local (and therefore more immediate) level, but by Bodies that are remote, literally and figuratively, from the life and needs of local communities.

We call on the Government to treat water as a public good and an environmental-living natural resource and immediately commit in a clear way to the following:

  • Public, sustainable, and rational management of water resources, ensuring comprehensive coverage of needs for all uses, with supply and demand management tools and free access for all.
  • Guarantee that water management companies operate towards the public, rational and integrated provision of water supply and sewerage services to citizens, while ensuring the protection and achievement of good status of water bodies, in accordance with the Water Framework Directive.
  • Return the positive financial performance of water companies through investments in infrastructure to improve the services provided as well as through funding research activity for the development of new technological solutions and applications.
  • Effective and long-lasting implementation of a tiered pricing policy for appropriate charging for all water uses, allowing free access for all, contributing to the achievement of sustainable objectives and the good status of water bodies, and highlighting the high significance of all stakeholders’ contributions.
  • Immediate allocation of the necessary financial resources for the required projects and user information and training interventions in the context of rational water management.
  • Immediate and effective operation of the National Water Council and the Water Councils of the Decentralised Administrations, to control the measures of rational and sustainable water management and the pricing of the respective services.
  • Immediate completion of the Flood Risk Management Plans and finalisation of the River Basin Management Plans based on the results of the consultation completed in December 2023, to achieve effective implementation of the proposed measures towards the sustainable management of water resources.
  • Identify binding targets for drastically reducing freshwater abuse and waste and for measures to rationalise water-intensive crops, such as cotton, which have led to water resource depletion (as, for example, in Thessaly).
  • Stop any plan to divert the Acheloos River. As accepted by the Plenary of the Council of State, in its decision No. 26/2014, this project does not comply with the principles of sustainable development.
  • At the same time, planning of a comprehensive rational management of water resources in rural areas, starting from Thessaly: Instead of plans for pharaonic, costly and energy-intensive projects, such as the Acheloos diversion, redefining and rerouting the natural flows and locations of water (streams, torrents, rivers, size of surface water bodies, etc.), urgent construction of small dams on rivers, torrents and streams to increase the capacity to retain water for crop irrigation and reduce the risks of uncontrolled flow.

The co-signatory environmental organisations:

ANIMA – Hellenic Wildlife Care Association
ARION – Cetacean Rescue and Care Research Centre
Action for Wildlife
Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature
Hellenic Ornithological Society
Naturefriends Greece
Society for the Protection of Biodiversity of Thrace
Society for the Protection of Prespa
CALLISTO, Environmental Organisation for Wildlife and Nature
Mamagaia, Environmental Organisation
Ecological Recycling Society
iSea, Environmental Organisation for the Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems
MEDASSET – Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles
MedINA – Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos
Greenpeace Greece