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AquaFed in Europe

More than 170 million Europeans (more than 33% of the EU population in excess of 500 million) receive drinking water and/or sanitation services that are at least partially operated by private (or public-private) companies.
Out of these, more than 100 million are served by companies affiliated to AquaFed.

Official Accreditation in the European Institutions


AquaFed's Missions from a European perspective

  • To provide a means for communication and dialogue between private water & wastewater service providers and international institutions and stakeholders. This includes all the main UN agencies that deal with water as well as at the European level all the relevant EU agencies and administrations.
  • To contribute, in a constructive manner, and by co-operating with other stakeholders, to solving the world’s water problems by sharing the expertise of private operators and working with the international community, including the UN system and the EU bodies, and intergovernmental initiatives. As such we are an accredited ‘Friend of UN-Water’ and share completely UN-Water's second goal, which is “to contribute substantially to the achievements of global water and sanitation related targets and goals” with an “emphasis on MDGs and Johannesburg Programme Of Implementation”. In addition, AquaFed has been a member of the EUWI steering group.
  • To ensure that the various ways of involving the private sector in delivering water and sanitation services to users are properly understood and evaluated so that national and local governments can choose the public or private management option that suits their individual needs best on a case-by-case basis.
AquaFed’s objective is to find solutions to solving water issues with all contributing stakeholders including governments, institutions, labour and customer representatives, NGOs, public & private water professionals.

Member companies of our Federation deliver water and/or sanitation public services as mandated by public authorities. They also provide water and wastewater services to industrial water-users.


Advancing the Human Right to Water in Europe

After their unanimous reaffirmation of the human right to water in New York on 19 November 2013, all governments should take action to ensure that the whole of their population enjoys access to a minimum quantity of drinking water that is safe, accessible, available, acceptable, affordable and can be obtained without discrimination. Today, this is not the case everywhere in the European Union. According to the European Commission: “20 million Europeans don't have access to quality water and safe sanitation.” All drinking water quality issues are not solved. Furthermore, mechanisms that ensure the affordability of drinking water for economically-disadvantaged citizens are still not present in all EU regions.

AquaFed’s proposals to advance the right to water in Europe: Over the past 10 years, AquaFed has formulated different proposals to improve effectively the implementation of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation in the European Union. Three concrete proposals were articulated on Feb 17, 2014: read more about our concrete work on this subject in Europe.


Fair competition and trading

AquaFed promotes fair competition and trading.
AquaFed is not a commercial organisation. It supports competition and does not engage in anti-comptetive or cartel-type behaviour.
It does not claim that private management of water services is better than public management and acknowledges the existence of well-run water systems in both cases.

Staff members correctly identify themselves as representing the Federation.

More information in the AquaFed Code of Ethics.


European Membership Base

In Europe, our association is present through the network of its members in the majority of Member States of the European Union, mostly through PPP (Public-Private Partnerships, including concession-type) contracts and through contracts with industrial water-users. Our estimate is that our members hold currently in Europe over 10,000 PPP contracts that are designated as "concessions" in the European Union.
The majority of the European population that benefits from water or wastewater services delivered by private companies is served by companies represented by our Federation.

The total number of employees of the members of our Federation exceeds 64,000 in the European Union.
Their aggregated turnover exceeds €11 billion for water and sanitation services in within the European Union.


European Operations 

  • Representative Office in Brussels (contact)
  • Active Stakeholder in the following groups/platforms or coordination mechanisms: 
    • The European Union's Water Initiative Steering Group (EUWI - www.euwi.net)
    • European Parliament Intergroup on Water (chaired by MEP Dr. Richard Seeber - epwatergroup.eu)
    • European Parliament Intergroup on Public Services (chaired by MEP Mrs. Françoise Castex - www.publicservices-europa.eu)
    • active collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Europe - UNECE - www.unece.org
  • Member of the following European-wide organisations and think-tanks

Page last modified: 2014-05-06

Aquafed AquaFed in Europe (Brief) - AquaFed
Aquafed Code of Ethics (2011 revised edition) - AquaFed