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"When water reveals the world": on Saturday Antoine Frérot participated in the forum on water related issues organized by Libération.

On Saturday 14 January, the daily newspaper Libération gathered together experts, politicians, entrepreneurs and citizens to discuss water related issues: governance, innovation, geopolitics, and the protection of the environment. Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia, participated in the first round table discussion: "Water, a good like any other?" Alongside him in the discussions were Deputy Michel Lesage, rapporteur on the bill for a human right to drinking water and sanitation, Marie Tsanga Tabi, a researcher at the Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture (IRSTEA) and Yannick Jadot, EELV presidential candidate in the 2017 elections.



Marie Tsanga Tabi opened the debate by pointing out the special status of water: "As a common good that is of collective interest and a public service [...] water must consequently be managed with the requirements of solidarity, social justice, and responsibility ".
According to the IRSTEA researcher, every actor has a responsibility in terms of setting up a water service that everyone can access: "the politicians are responsible for the general interest, the manager, and the households".

> Distinguishing between water and the water service

Antoine Frérot agreed that natural water is a common good that is free and to which everyone should have access, but on the other hand he stressed that "to make it drinkable, transport it, and treat it after use is a service that has a cost".
"Veolia brings its know-how, technology, and efficiency and has a significant scale effect thanks to its activities in 10,000 cities around the world".
Veolia's CEO then went on to say: "It is not up to the water service managers to determine who is responsible for paying this cost: it is up to the public authorities to set the framework, and up to the companies – whether public or private – to carry out the service".

> Ensuring everyone has access to drinking water

The Government, local authorities, and operators have designed and implemented solutions to ensure everyone has access to drinking water. They have deployed solidarity mechanisms, such as social tariffs for basic water supplies and direct assistance systems for the most modest families.

"Everyone can access water by means of preventive and emergency measures, efficient cost control and innovation," added Antoine Frérot.

> Water, a question of governance?

The question of the cost of water was then expanded on by the parliamentarian Michel Lesage. How can the human right to water, declared by the United Nations in 2010, and incorporated into French law, be ensured without introducing binding measures to ensure access for everyone? He then raised the question of governance, which he considers to be essential in meeting all the water related challenges: conflicts of use, pollution, access for everyone. And he regretted that politicians do not better understand the subject.

> Fighting Water Pollution

Yannick Jadot[1] raised the issue of water quality, stressing that, "the question of the quantity of water consumed has been overtaken by the problem of its quality".

In fact households are consuming less and less water. But the pollution it suffers in its natural state is increasing.
This debate was followed by three others, successively dealing with questions of innovation in water management, water as a geopolitical weapon, and the consequences of climate change on water - in particular the oceans. 


> Find the reports of the debates on the page devoted to the Forum on the site of Libération (in French):
>Veolia’s water management expertise
>Water differently in a changing world


[1] Europe écologie les verts (green party)