“Water Makes Money” shines spotlight on French water monopoly model

This documentary project is a sharp criticism of the “French model” of privatisation of water which is gaining increasing ground worldwide: the so-called public-private partership which rewards the “efficiency” of private sector management and distribution with the right to determine the cost of the service as an economic good.

Made by a German team and financed by online donations, the documentary takes a look at the dysfunction of the “French model” on its home turf, notably Véolia, the big global player which emerged in 2003 as an offspring of Vivendi Universal, present in 69 countries on five continents. In Germany, for example, the French firm has become in a short space of time the largest supplier of drinking and waste water in the country, with a role in the waterworks of 450 German communities.

In France, where Véolia and Suez supply 8 out of 10 citizens with water, many municipalities have been lobbying to bring back the municipal authorities because of concerns about the lack of transparency, poor water quality and escalating water bills. Municipalities have had trouble monitoring whether the amounts in the bills correspond to services performed. Were the billions paid in fees really used for restoring the pipes? Paris and more than one hundred other French municipalities have decided to hand back control over water services to municipal authorities, effective end-2009.
The minimum budget to complete the film is 90,000 euros and the producers are accepting online donations here until September 2009.

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