ADES : Association for Democracy,
Ecology and Solidarity, Grenoble, France
Water : a lesson from Grenoble
We received messages from all around
the world, messages of congratulations for our victory, but also to ensure
it is an encouragement for all the people fighting worldwide to keep water
under public control. Read
these messages (both in English and French).
March 2000 : Victory against corruption and
the pressure of the great groups, Grenoble water comes back to public service !
- More than 10 years after entering Grenoble water through corruption,
La Lyonnaise des Eaux is at last compelled to leave !
- On Monday March the 20th, 2000, Grenoble town
council voted to bring back the water service under public control !
- This is the end of a long fight, and yet we have to remain careful,
to make sure the restored public service will have a right price for water,
and that every irregularity is definitely swept away from this vital element.
- The water service in Grenoble was privatized in 1989 (to the Lyonnaise
des Eaux) by the then mayor, Alain Carignon, and the city council, in spite
of a strong opposition.
- We, ecologists, together with our representatives (2 in the opposition
at the time) and citizens belonging to the "Eau Secours" ("Save
water") association (see their website : http://eausecours.free.fr, in french), started
the fight against this decision. We went to law about this case.
- We won in 1997 (!) : the 1989 decision was cancelled for being
illegal. Unfortunatly, this justice decision is purely administrative,
and has no direct effect on the service organisation, unless a political
decision is taken, so we had to keep on fighting.
- Meanwhile, in 1995, the majority changed, and we found ourselves part
of the new majority, with 11
- In 1996, the former mayor who had conducted the privatisation, Alain
Carignon, was trialed and condemned for corruption : he had sold the
water service to the Lyonnaise, who in exchange had paied for his election
- In spite of this judgment, the new majority started, against our will,
to negociate with the Lyonnaise for a new agreement. So we once again went
to law, and this new decision was also cancelled by the judge, in 1998.
Especially, all administrative aspects were cancelled, included the water
price ! Decisions were to be taken then, if the service was to go
on functionning legally.
- Therefore, the majority was compelled to take the final decision
to bring back the water service under public control, on march the 20th
2000, 11 years later ! A long fight, but it was worth it !
Why this fight ?
A fight for Democracy
The fight around water is symptomatic of what we
consider to be a democracy and a public service. Through our fight to bring
Grenoble water back under public control, we ask : who decides in the
City, citizens and their representatives, or great merchant groups ? We
have to remember our water service was sold through corruption !
A fight for Ecology
Water is a vital element, and should not be considered as a merchandise,
sold for profit, should not be entrusted to private merchant groups. This
is a worldwide fight, for the welfare of all humanity. It appears public
control is a necessary condition for a sustainable water service.
A fight for Solidarity
At a time when more and more families cannot afford paying their water
bills, fighting for the right water price is an action for solidarity. Knowing
every cent on these bills ends as billions for the great groups, you understand
this is not a small fight, but an essential one.
And as these groups are driven only by profit goals, it shows that public
control is the only condition for sustainable development. We in Grenoble
have the luck to have a naturally pure water, distributed without previous
treatments. We must therefore ensure that water treatments are respectfull
both of the environement and of the users bank account.
More about it...
You will find on this website a complet history of Grenoble waterfight,
justice decisions, explanations on why we persisted in fighting... But from
nowon, it is in French, sorry !