The Brussels Region was Friday officially designated as a “Blue Community”, receiving its membership certificate from Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort at the first meeting of such cities and communities.
Vervoort confirmed at the meeting that the region would sign on to a commitment by members of the Blue Communities network to ban the sale of bottled water in public establishments at municipal events. The prohibition, which should be in force by the end of the regional legislature, would also apply to events sponsored by the public authorities.
The ‘Blue Planet Project’ was created in 2009 by the Council of Canadians with a view to encouraging cities, organisations and communities to commit to guaranteeing the human right to water, promoting tap-water use in all local contexts, banning bottled water and ensuring that only public institutions manage the production, drainage and treatment of water.
The Socialist-Ecologist-DéFi Government of the Capital Region gave the green light to the region’s accession to the network on 10 October. The regional authorities had been urged to take this step by a group of students of the IHECS as they defended their thesis, which focussed on access to water.
More water fountains
The country’s high level of water insecurity, which affects one in every six Belgians according to the King Baudouin Foundation, has prompted the Brussels Government to decide to install more water fountains and public baths in the capital. In addition to scaled and affordable water rates, the Region is putting various measures in place to ensure water is cut only in exceptional cases.
Brussels is also advanced where public management throughout the water chain is concerned. It now only needs to make purification – currently managed in partnership with the private sector – a 100% public operation. The Government has asserted that when the partnership ends, there will be no new tendering.
The Brussels Times