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Protecting public water for the public good in Paris

Feb 18, 2011 08:39 AM
 
Protecting public water for the public good in Paris


Water prices in Paris, France are dropping just one year after the city took back control of the water system from private operators.

For years the city's water was operated by Veolia and Suez -- two private, multinational corporations. When a new city government was elected, they vowed to bring water services back in-house. In 2009 they created a new public system and have achieved lower rates and greater accountability for the citizens of Paris.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Anne Le Strat told the compelling story of how the city put water services back into public hands in an exclusive video message to CUPE members at the National Municipal Sector Meeting in Toronto on Feb. 17.

"The fact that the French capital has decided to take back control of its water service, was clearly a form of electro-shock not only in the national water community but also in the international water community," said Le Strat. "Water is a common asset making it part of our living heritage, our common living heritage and humanity; we have to ensure public control and management of this resource."