Irish citizens are waiting anxiously to see what they will have to pay when the new water charges are fixed. We have been promised a consultation about the level of those charges, and about the level of ‘free’ allowance for each person. Water is a basic human need and the allowances and charges must reflect that.
In the meantime, European citizens (including Irish citizens) have put down a marker for the EU about the right to water, using the new tool for participatory democracy in Europe, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). A European Citizens Initiative has to be organised by at least seven people from seven member states, and to be successful must collect one million citizens from at least seven member states. The campaign for the Right2Water has mobilised signatures from over 1.6 million European citizens and is the first successful ECI.
The Right2Water initiative proposes new EU legislation to guarantee water and sanitation for all EU citizens, to ensure that water services are not privatised, and to do more to ensure universal access to safe and clean water. The EU Commission has until March 20th to decide how they will respond to this initiative. Ask the candidates for the European Parliament to tell you how they will vote on this issue.