Jan 102012
 
Today, around 50 people from Spain and different parts of the world rallied in front of the corporate offices of Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar) in its base city. We had all had good reason to speak out against this transnational. People from Greece, Philippines and Italy spoke about the struggles of fighting against water privatization and particularly Spanish organizations presented the case against Agbar. Allies from the Asociación de Usuarios de Aguas de Saltillo (AUAS), Mexico had asked me to deliver a report to Agbar that detailed the hardship this company has brought to their city since 2001. Most notably, Aguas de Saltillo (which is a PPP with Agbar) has increased its commercial efficiency through water cutoffs to those homes that have been unable to pay their bills. In recent years, their numbers show that they disconnect nearly 30% of the users annually! The AUAS has registered how Aguas de Saltillo has increased water tariffs way beyond what was agreed in their contract. Since AUAS, was able to prove this wrongdoing and the local government demanded a reimbursement to users (which was only done partially), Aguas de Saltillo has now moved to make excess charges in other service areas such as connections, reconnections and other fees. The consequences have of course affected badly the poorest in Saltillo who now depend on walking to fetch their water from a spring (if they are lucky enough to be close to one!) or rely on informal arrangements with vendors or neighbors. For a news article about this rally in Spanish http://www.abc.es/agencias/noticia.asp?noticia=1060418 For an excellent magazine article about water privatization in Saltillo in Spanish http://www.comda.org.mx/files/REVISTACOMDA.pdf
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