Water Justice News

Updates from around the world about the global water crisis, and the struggle for water justice.


July 9, 2018 – 4:11pmMeera Karunananthan of the Blue Planet Project took part in this March 2014 rally in San Salvador in support of the General Water Law now being undermined by ARENA.
Popular mobilizations are taking place in El Salvador as ARENA cr…


March 22, 2018 – 2:54pmOrganizers in Barcelona successfully gathered over 15,000 signatures required to hold a referendum on the remunicipalisation of that city’s water supply in June. Today they released a video showing messages of support from around…


March 22, 2018 – 2:20pmBrasilia –  The Fórum Alternativo Mundial da Água (FAMA) or Alternative World Water Forum concluded with a march today that saw 5-7,000 people from around Brasil and around the World take to the streets of Brasilia demanding an e…


December 21, 2017 – 5:34pm

A new report by the Water Citizens’ Network in Ghana traces the history of resistance to pre-paid water metres and the successful campaign to stop the Ghanaian government’s most recent attempts to implement metering schemes. The report argues that the government’s latest initiative – a direct result of pressures from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to implement full-cost recovery in public services as part of a 2013 bailout package – flies in the face of evidence gathered during previous attempts to establish water meters in Ghana.

According to author Leonard Shang-Quartey, when water metering was first introduced through a pilot project in 2004, people were told prepaid metering would lead to better and more efficient services. However, the pilot program was so plagued with problems that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), the government agency that had enthusiastically signed on to the deal, ended up seeking legal sanctions against the metering company, Aquamet. Five months into the pilot project, residents who had initially signed up when the company offered deceptively low rates to attract customers, found themselves without water when rates rose drastically to ensure profits for the private collection agency. Additionally, technical glitches left paying customers without reliable access and the illusion of efficiency was soon replaced by the reality of an administrative nightmare that eventually drove the GWCL to seek a court injunction against Aquamet to prevent further metering. During this period, Aquamet made profits while its public sector partner, the GWCL lost revenues.

According to Koni Benson, the Blue Planet Project’s Cape Town-based organizer who supported the Water Citizen’s Network’s effort to document the Ghanaian experience with metering, the report will be useful in supporting other campaigns against metering on the continent.The Blue Planet Project currently supports a campaign against water metering in Cape Town and regularly facilitates exchanges between water justice activists throughout Africa and around the world.

Read The Fall of Prepaid Water Meters in Ghana (PDF 1.2mb)

November 23, 2017
Joint Media Release

Water is more precious than gold Ottawa/Toronto – Three Canadian organizations, MiningWatch Canada, Council of Canadians, and Common Frontiers have written to Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, calling on the Canadian government to respond to any forthcoming requests from Costa Rica’s new Attorney General, Emilia Navas, in a complete and timely manner.

The Canadian government is believed to have information relevant to a recently re-opened investigation concerning possible malfeasance on the part of ex-President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, with regard to an alleged transfer of $200,000 from Infinito Gold’s largest shareholder to the Arias Foundation in 2008. The transfer of funds took place just prior to then-President Arias issuing an Executive Decree to allow the Canadian mining company to proceed with an open-pit gold mine, despite Costa Rica’s prohibition against open-pit gold mining.

Through Freedom of Information requests, the three Canadian organizations that wrote to the Minsters this week ascertained that Canada has previously been asked for information on this possible transfer of funds in 2013 and that the RCMP had contacted Interpol about this case. But whatever information that the Department of Justice may have was never turned over to the Costa Rican authorities. Citing Canada’s lack of collaboration, then Costa Rican Attorney General was successful in having  the case against Arias closed in 2015 for lack of evidence. However, while Arias avoided trial at the time, his Minister of the Environment, who co-signed the Executive Decree in support of Infinito’s project, was found guilty of malfeasance and was sentenced to three years in prison.

In order for the new Costa Rican Attorney General to proceed with this investigation and adequately judge the merits of this case, Canadian organizations urge the Canadian government to fully cooperate with the Costa Rican authorities this time.


For information:

Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, 1(613) 563-3439, jen@miningwatch.ca
Brent Patterson, Council of Canadians, 1(613) 233-2773, bpatterson@canadians.org
Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers, 1(416) 522-8615, burbano@rogers.com

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