No more water privatisation, says EESC

The EESC believes that an updated Drinking Water Directive – following the Right2Water citizens' initiative - should be based on the WHO guidelines. It should embrace the human right to access to water. The EESC opinion Drinking water directive calls for a stop to water privatisation and wants to see measures that motivate people to make considered use of this finite resource. The Committee also wants potential problems in the mineral water industry to be anticipated.

The EESC regrets that the Commission's proposal does not clearly recognise the universal right of access to drinking water and sanitation called for by the ECI initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals. The WHO model, based on minimum quantities of water per person per day, could be a viable option.

"Drinking water is a primary good which is essential for the health, well-being and dignity of every human being as well as being crucial for economic and productive activity, and should no longer be privatised," said Gerardo Larghi, rapporteur for the opinion.

Appropriate measures targeting both individuals and industry and agriculture, should be implemented to discourage disproportionate water use.

Anticipative measures including restructuring the industry and reskilling its workers should help cushion the expected repercussions on mineral water producers. (sma)