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Water Coalition

The Water Coa­lit­ion, the new nati­on­wi­de coa­lit­ion orga­ni­zed by the CCF, laun­ched its Cle­an Water into our Glas­ses! campaign.

They took all the prob­lems that the Coa­lit­ion was for­med to, and laun­ched a petition:


The idea of doing som­eth­ing to imp­ro­ve the drink­ing water supply star­ted in Vecsés — and seve­ral NGOs from sett­le­ments around Buda­pest joined in. Two years ago, the Ele­ven Vecsés gro­up tes­ted the drink­ing water with the help of com­mu­nity fund­ing — accord­ing to the ope­ning dis­cus­si­on at the con­fe­ren­ce, whe­re the orga­ni­za­tions that joined the net­work were int­ro­du­ced. In Vecsés, the iron and man­ga­ne­se cont­ent of drink­ing water is con­sis­tently abo­ve the health limit, which in addi­ti­on to being a health risk also caus­es eco­no­mic damage: it ruins water hea­ters, wash­ing machi­nes and clot­hes. The­re are brok­en and damag­ed pipes almost daily in the muni­ci­pa­lity — the num­ber has trip­led in the last three years. The rea­son for all this is the lack of recon­struc­ti­on — the pipes are in ter­rib­le con­di­ti­on. Spea­kers from dif­fe­rent muni­ci­pa­li­ti­es all ment­ion­ed fre­qu­ent burst pipes as a prob­lem and as a result the dis­rupt­ion in the drink­ing water supplies. 

We need cle­an water into our glasses

Not the wor­kers and not the ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders are res­pon­sib­le for burst pipes, as the pro­fes­si­o­nals repea­tedly said at the conference. 

“The net­work beco­mes a sieve beca­u­se the­re has been no money for recon­struc­ti­on sin­ce the cuts in 2012,” poin­ted out Károly Kecs­kés, Pres­ident of the Emp­loye­es’ Trade Union of the Buda­pest Water­works ZRT. In addi­ti­on, drink­ing water has 27% VAT, so it is a luxury good, even tho­ugh it is basic! Sin­ce 2013, the sec­tor has also been hit by a uti­lity tax, which is only rein­ves­ted in the 5 sta­te-owned com­pa­ni­es and does not bene­fit muni­ci­pal and pri­vate supp­li­ers. Under the­se con­di­tions, ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders can­not invest, they can only put out fires.”

Due to the lack of recon­struc­ti­on, a sig­ni­fi­cant pro­por­ti­on of the heal­thy drink­ing water ext­rac­ted is lost to the ground, beca­u­se of the dete­ri­or­a­ti­on and cor­ro­si­on of pipes and fitt­ings in asbe­st­os-cement pipe­li­nes which are typi­cally 50–60 years old. Water los­ses of 30–40% are not uncom­mon — in the fact that the­re are still some are­as wit­ho­ut piped drink­ing water, this is a huge waste.

A major prob­lem for ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders is that they can­not raise sala­ri­es, so the­re is no rep­lace­ment for the pro­fes­si­o­nal wor­kers, many of them alre­ady doing the job on a casu­al basis. By 2027, 25 per­cent of wor­kers are expec­ted to be absent, which will bring furt­her supply prob­lems — experts told at the conference. 

The experts’ pro­pos­al — to redu­ce the VAT with no chan­ge in con­su­mer pri­ces, the trans­fer of uti­lity taxes to a deve­lop­ment fund and a nati­o­nal prog­ram for pipe rep­lace­ment — are among the petit­ion’s demands.

“We have seen from the local prob­lems the sys­te­mic prob­lems” poin­ted out And­rea Homo­ki, CCF com­mu­nity orga­ni­zer and one of the coor­di­na­t­ors of the Water Coa­lit­ion. She has been wor­king for two years to uni­te the coa­lit­ion: “And we are loo­king for sys­te­mic solu­tions. Bring­ing toget­her the pub­lic and ser­vi­ce pro­vi­ders now offers a real oppor­tunity to do this.”