The Secret EU Drive to Privatize Water

Up to the Last Drop: Secret Water War in Europe

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

Up to the Last Drop is about the role of the EU Commission in pressuring member countries to privatize their municipal water supplies. Although the UN declared access to water a human right in 2001, the EU continues to exert pressure on indebted nations (ie Greece, Portugal, Italy and Ireland) to sell their water utilities to repay the debt they incurred by bailing out their banks in 2008.

Water privatization almost always leads to massive price hikes for consumers, who are fighting back. Between 2000-2017, popular unrest against privatization and price increases led municipalities in 37 countries to oust private water companies* and resume municipal control.

In 2005, mass protests over skyrocketing water prices led Bolivians to overthrow their government.

In 2011, 98% of Berlin residents voted “yes” on a referendum for local authorities to resume control of the city’s water supply. Italy also blocked water privatization (with 95% voting no) via referendum.

Ireland blocked a wholesale water privatization scheme via mass protest, and Portugal ended it by electing a new left-leaning government.


*Two French companies Suez and Veolia monopolize nearly all private water schemes worldwide.

The film can’t be embedded for copyright reasons but can be viewed free at the Al Jazeera website: Secret Water Wars