Declaration for Another Water Policy in Turkey

We came together in order to promote participatory and democratic practices, to develop alternative models and to share experience and information towards the privatization policies of the water resources and water services of the central government. We believe that the creation of networks (in the aspect of Public-Public Partnerships) on local, national, regional and international levels, which intend to promote the collaboration between local governments which are outstanding in terms of participatory and democratic practices, will strengthen the feasible alternatives. We acknowledge that the water is a common good and we defend that water resources should be protected. There should be a holistic approach towards water which claims it as a resource belonging to all human kind and to every living species.
As a result of the workshops we held in Van and Batman, we would like to underline the following points:

– Based on the principle that water is a human right, it should be guaranteed that everybody has physically and economically access to adequate and high quality water. Disadvantaged people should have positive discrimination in order to access water sources; further all information regarding water should be publicly available.

– The water managements should consider public interest, democracy and participation. They should develop management models which consider water as the origin of all life, guarantee the right to water and protect ecological systems.

– Right to water should be mentioned as a part of fundamental, constitutional rights. It is one of the main responsibilities of the state to provide access to water to its citizens and it should be seen as a main public service. As a part of the social state principle, it should be aimed that everybody has access to adequate and high quality water. All the legislations and laws that limit the right to access water should be abandoned.

– The legislations and articles in the law that compel the local governments to act like commercial water enterprises and coerce the citizens to get in a customer position should be abolished. Additionally, the central government and international financial institutions should not be the ones initiating water prices. To ensure this “The Law on Tariffs of the Services and Goods Produced by Public Authorities and Institutions – No 4736” or article 23 of the “ISKI Law – No 2560” which set the profit as a requirement on deciding the water tariffs should be changed.

– The local governments should be empowered in order to provide the right to access water. Their responsibilities and authorities should be increased and they should have a democratic autonomous structure.

– The local governments should have the authority to produce electricity energy in order to maintain the water facilities. The local governments which don’t have the capacity to produce their own electricity should be able to get energy from the central government on discounted prices.

– The water basins should be determined and managed on natural borders, not on administrative and politic borders. Basin management and planning should be identified with a holistic ecological approach and it should consider the environmental, social and economical aspects of water resources. The local governments should have the opportunity to establish networks or unities for basin management.

– Water resources should not be used as a regional or international hegemony tool. The HEPP projects and the dams which create conflicts and hostility, is contrary to the peace we need, should be declined.

– The HEPP and dam licences which provided without basin plan and without the approval of local inhabitants should be cancelled. The ongoing projects which create social, cultural and ecological damage and which privatize the right to use the water should be stopped. Renewable energy resources (such as solar, wind, geothermal and wave power) and energy efficiency should be promoted in order to meet the energy demand.

– Water management should not be privatized and it should remain in public bodies in the framework of ecological, democratic and social policies. The mechanisms of the citizens’ participation to the decisions on water should be advanced.

We, as organizations and institutions which stick to these principles, will attend to the Alternative World Water Forum which will be organized against the main water privatization body, the 6. World Water Forum, in Marseille in 2012 and we call all the organizations, institutions and citizens to defend their right to water.

Signatories to the Declaration

Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities (GABB)
Diyarbakır Water and Sewerage Administration of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality (DİSKİ)
Batman Water and Sewerage Administration (BASKİ)
Water and Sewerage Administration of Hakkari Municipality
Siirt Municipality
Dikili Municipality
Sur Municipality
Dargeçit Municipality
Derik Municipality
Kayapınar Municipality
Kızıltepe Municipality
Batman Municipality
Güroymak Municipality
Right to Water Campaign
Association for Social Change
Global Action Group
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive
Human Rights Association – Elazığ Branch
Civil Engineers Union – Van Branch
Geology Engineers Union – Batman Branch
Health and Social Services Workers Union – Diyarbakir Branch
Diyarbakir Youth Assembly of City Council of Local Agenda 21