Today is the twentieth World Water Day. But for over a billion people who still lack access to sufficient safe clean drinking water, there’s little to celebrate.
WDM's campaigning against water privatisation in the 2000s saw a number of successes, ultimately ensuring that UK aid money supported pro-poor public water utilities rather than privatisation and higher prices. Since then, there have also been victories closer to home, with Italian voters rejecting water privatisation in 2011.
But there’s still a long way to go. In the pan-European region alone, more than 110 million people, representing 12 per cent of the population, still lack access to drinking water.
This year sees an important opportunity. Across Europe, civil society groups and unions are joining forces as part of a ‘European Citizen’s Initiative’, a type of EU-wide petition, calling for the European commission to formally recognise water and sanitation as human rights, to stop pushing for the privatisation of water services, and to increase efforts to implement the UN Millennium Development Goal of universal access to water both in Europe and the global south.
To be successful, the initiative needs the support of one million EU citizens from at least seven member states. While there are already enough signatures, most come from only five countries, and much more support is needed from the UK to reach its quota. So please help make this year's World Water Day something to celebrate by taking a minute to add your signature and spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.