President of Andalucia wants to privatise water purification

by Lorraine Williamson
water in Andalucia

SEVILLE – Andalucia’s regional president Moreno is calling for the privatisation of water treatment in the southern Spanish region. As a result, this will be a blow to state companies and experts. Moreover, they believe that the president is pushing privatisation through and that his vision is groundless. 

Moreno made several critical statements about the water treatment by current public companies during a summit meeting in Madrid last Monday. In front of everyone present, he wondered why he should not be allowed to choose private companies. Furthermore, he is convinced that these companies can do it better and more efficiently. Consequently this will leave more money for the treasury. 

Sector and experts undermine the Andalucian president’s position 

The sector and the companies currently responsible for water treatment were very surprised by these statements. Moreover, they do not understand what Moreno is basing them on. According to Professor Miguel Ángel García, who specialises in hydrology, this decision is more about the lack of transparency within the sector and companies that have to monitor quality requirements and regulations. According to García, private companies certainly do not offer this transparency. 

Scientific reports contradict Moreno’s vision 

Since 2013, the environmental movement Ecologistas en Acción has drawn up an annual report on water treatment in Andalucia and reports it to the European Commission. By 2021, there is a 4% decrease in the number of wastewater treatment plants that comply with EU regulations. That broke the positive trend seen in this regard since 2016. 

According to the same report, Córdoba, Huelva and Seville are the three provinces where EU water treatment standards are most respected in all of Andalucia. Furthermore, these are also exactly the three provinces where most public water treatment plants are located. 

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Málaga, Almeria and Granada come out worst in terms of compliance with EU standards. And these are precisely the provinces with the lowest percentage of public water treatment companies. 

See also: Is tap water safe to drink in Spain? 

It is very strange that a government administrator prefers private to public companies, according to Ecologistas and Acción. 

Experts believe that Moreno is trying to push his vision through by suspending the water cannon (an ecological burden on the use and pollution of water). 

Most EU sanctions for water treatment in Spain for Andalucia 

Water treatment plants in Andalucia receive by far the most sanctions of all regions in Spain for not complying with European directives. In 2020, it was announced that Andalucia had to pay Spain’s highest EU fine for the failing water treatment system. Ultimately, €5.5 million was paid. But there are still many municipalities in this region where the applicable standards are not met. 

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