Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) MP Igor Hraško launched an online petition on June 17 aimed at thwarting plans for the adoption of an amendment to the act on water in parliament. Government officials call Hraško’s allegations “pure lies”.

The draft amendment proposed by Environment Minister Peter Žiga was cleared by the government on June 4. If it is passed, the government will have exclusive powers to restrict or ban exports of water from Slovakia. According to Hraško, Slovakia should, first and foremost, be aware of the level of its surplus of water reserves, where the reserves are located and what sort of effect they have on global warming. To this end, he’s urging the government to carry out a study on the issue first.

“The government is preparing to privatise water reserves in a covert way and rob citizens of them,” said Hraško, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He called Žiga’s amendment “high treason” and “an assault on the lives of Slovakia’s people”. He also voiced concern that the new rules will jeopardise water supplies to the public and lead to a spike in water prices. Hraško argued, according to the SITA newswire, that the amendment allows to export water abroad in tanks and via water pipes, which is not possible now.

“The government has decided to proceed in stark contrast to the ongoing discussion in Europe,” added another OĽaNO MP Jozef Viskupič, as quoted by TASR, noting that the European Commission decided recently that access to water constitutes a human right after a respective civil initiative was backed by over a million Europeans, including people from Slovakia.

“Statements to the effect that a privatisation and sales of drinking water abroad are in the making are pure lies,” the ministry reacted, adding that the organisers of the petition are deluding the public and spreading panic. Žiga said the amendment is intended as a pre-emptive measure for the future vis-a-vis climate change.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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