Campaign for access to clean water, not water privatisation | World Development Movement

Join us in the fight for economic justice and an end to global poverty.

Water campaign

WDM campaigned on the issue of water privatisation in poor countries between 2005 and 2008.

Child next to a water tap

Water is a gift from Earth. We need to take care of it and preserve it so the next generation can live. If we don’t, the cost is the people, it is us

Oscar Olivera, water activist, Bolivia, 2006.


Most of us take clean water for granted, but a sixth of the world’s population aren’t so lucky. Over a billion people worldwide cannot reach or afford clean water.

Nearly two million children die every year because they do not have regular, safe water to drink, while the lives of many more people are blighted by the illness and preventable diseases that result from unsafe water and poor sanitation.

WDM lobbied for the UK government to adopt policies that promote access to clean drinking water, rather than waste aid money on failed privatisation. WDM campaigned to limit the spread of coporate control over water resources, and against climate change that threatens water supplies worldwide.

Water campaign successes  

  • In 2009, following our campaign, the EU announced it would commit 40 million Euros to support progressive public water schemes in developing countries. The funds will help public utilities to develop partnerships to share expertise, build capacity and spread good practice. Public utilities are still largely responsible for providing water to developing countries and this will vastly improve the water supply for communities across the world.
  • In March 2007, thanks to emails, postcards and letters sent by WDM activists, Hilary Benn announced support for the public water sector in developing countries, marking a significant shift away from the government's previous pro-privatisation approach.
  • In May 2007, Gopal Chintan, a water activist from Nepal, asked for WDM's help to stop Severn Trent from participating in water privatisation in his country. WDM supporters responded in huge numbers. And following one of our most popular online campaigns Severn Trent, the sole bidder for the contract, pulled out of the bidding process.


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