UP TO THE LAST DROP (The secret water war in Europe)
Cities, regions and countries all around the world are increasingly rejecting the water privatization model they had adopted for years and are remunicipalizing services in order to take back public control over water and sanitation management. In many cases, this shift is due to the false promises of private operators who have proven to be unwilling to put the needs of communities before their own profit.
The data leaves no room for dispute: Between March 2000 and March 2015, 235 cases of water remunicipalization were reported in 37 countries, affecting over 100 million people. 94 of them in France, home of the most powerful and influential private water companies of the planet, 54 in the USA, 9 in Germany. Number of cases doubled in the 2010-2015 period compared to 2000-2010, with the majority of them concentrated in high-income countries.
The remunicipalization of water supply and sanitation services emerges as a global growing trend. A significant turn, which is reshaping the global water sector.
At the same time, however, in crisis-stricken Europe, public water operators mainly in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are constantly under attack. The political and economic elite in Brussels are pushing the countries of the European South to privatize their water services.
Although Berlin and Paris have recently taken back public control over their water abandoning the “failed” –as they say– private water model they had adopted for years, Troika’s European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF are demanding from Greece and Portugal to privatize their public water systems. It is a common stipulation provided in every bailout agreement signed between the debt-ridden countries and their lenders.
Between austerity politics and EU lobbying, water in Europe seems to flow according to the flow of capital. The EU has still to recognize water as a human right, as the UN did in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of people across Europe demand that the European Commission guarantees the right to water for all European citizens and for its management to be excluded from the market liberalization.
Up To The Last Drop follows the money in a journey across the continent to investigate corporate interests reaching high to the EU policy-making agenda and to shed light on the privatization or the remunicipalization process of the most vital element for our survival.
At a time when Europe is going through a crisis that is not solely economical but also a crisis of moral values, millions of European citizens demand a response to a crucial question: is water for the European Union a commercial product or a human right? Until today, European institutions have not given a clear answer. A vast gap seems to separate their rhetoric from their daily practice.
Based on extensive research that began in January 2013, Up to the Last Drop builds the plot in eight member states of the EU. A stark contrast lies in the heart of this affair: In times of crisis, countries like Germany and France that had tested the water privatization model are now gaining back public control of their water systems while at the same time they are pushing the countries of the European South to privatize their water management.
Eight different stories in eight different countries are interwoven and evolve in parallel throughout the film. Their leading characters are key personalities of the European water affairs – politicians, insiders, Brussels bureaucrats, company executives, European citizens and activists.
These parallel storylines unfold gradually through incisive interviews which unveil the point of views of all involved parties. Through inventive photography and graphics, dynamic editing, original music and narration, a revelatory and balanced film is created on a topic that concerns us all: the public or private management of a natural monopoly on which depends our very existence; a vital element that we can neither cultivate nor fabricate.
Up to the Last Drop is a documentary film about water that reflects contemporary European values and the quality of the current European democracy.