Water: Business Opportunity Or Social Priority? the Greek Case Study

Elpida Kolokytha

Thursday 2 july 2015

11:00 - 11:15h at Europe 1 (level 0)

Themes: (T) Special session, (ST) Adaptation to global changes in water resources management

Parallel session: 11J. Special Session: Adaptation to Global Changes in Water Resources Management (WRM)

The global ecological balance is dangerously disturbed in recent years, mainly as a result of aggressive growth imposed by the dominant economic model. The same model is responsible for both crises that the planet is suffering, the economic and the environmental one. Globalization and the nature of environmental problems render civilization and democracy problems. To address them, radical changes are needed towards sustainability, not only in the government levels but also in the behavior of every citizen. Environmental problems are problems of great political, economic and social importance. Major concern of the environmental crisis, refer to climate change. Water scarcity and droughts, floods and extreme events, as well as degradation of water quality are some of the impacts of climate change to urban water. Demand management policies, as adaptive measures, provide a central option in the water sector in the direction of incentives towards water conservation. Water utilities should organize and communicate risks from climate impacts and potential gains from adaptation to both stakeholders and citizens. We can no longer afford to take our water for granted. This paper discusses the trend of water privatization in Greece and the consequences of such a choice, by comparing water consumption and water pricing data from the water utility of the city of Thessaloniki, EYATH which is the one of the two water utilities in Greece,(the other one is EYDAP in Athens) which is in the process of becoming private. It is important to mention that both EYATH and EYDAP serve more than half of the population of Greece. Also insights towards the economic and the social result for Greece of privatizing the residential water use is discussed.