5 more cities are here to be added to the long list of those who, having lived with the negative effects of privatization and the breaking of the promises that came with it, have decided to remunicipalize their water services. Detailed information can be read in the “work-in-progress” site www.remunicipalisation.org.
– Rabat-Salé region and Tangier -Tétouan region (Morocco)
The water and electricity services of major Moroccan cities were sold to French multinationals Veolia and Suez in the 1990s and early 2000s. A few years ago, Veolia announced its intention to sell its contracts in Tangier -Tétouan and Rabat-Salé to a British investment fund, Actis. But local authorities recently voted against the deal and decided to take over the services under a form still to be decided.
In 2013, the city of Nice in southern France decided to end its contract with private provider Veolia and take over the management of its water service. This was significant and surprising because the city is headed by a conservative, business-friendly mayor. Remunicipalisation was identified as the best option to harmonise the level and price of the water service within the newly created inter-communal body for the greater Nice urban area.
In 2013, Rennes was one of many French cities that decided to remunicipalise its water service. In Rennes, the service had been managed by Veolia for more than 120 years and this decision was the result of a long battle by the local civil society, which had to overcome the strong political relationship between the private operator and local officials that had existed in spite of Veolia’s appalling record. Water remunicipalisation in Rennes was also marred by controversy over the legal form chosen for the new public water system. Many people see the current system as evidence of an insincere and incomplete de-privatisation.
– Maputo and the cities of Beira, Nampula, Quelimane and Pemba, Mozambique
In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Mozambique privatized state-owned utilities and water management. In 1999, after competitive bidding, the government entered into a public-private partnership (PPP). It signed a hybrid lease/ management contract with Aguas de Mozambique (AdeM) for the water utilities of the capital, Maputo, and the four major provincial cities of Beira, Nampula, Quelimane and Pemba, which are spread throughout the country. This partnership was not a success. The four cities had a five-year management contract, which, after a four-year extension, expired in 2008. From then on, only Maputo was under private management. Yet Maputo’s 15-year contract came to an early end in 2010 when the government, through the asset holding company Fundo de investimento e Património do Abastecimento de Água (FIPAG), bought 73 per cent of AdeM shares, which, until then, had been owned by Aguas de Portugal (AdP). Because private investments in the water sector were problematic, Mozambique centralized the water management through FIPAG, thereby effectively ending the decade long PPP.
– White Rock
The municipality of White Rock has expressed interest in buying the water utility, which is owned by the Edmonton based corporation Epcor. The city council voted anonymously in favour of municipalisation, however a referendum will not be held before the end of 2014. If the referendum shows that citizens are in favour, the mayor has said the municipality will buy the water utility at the beginning of 2015.