In 2016, the water supply of 1630 households in Brussels were disconnected. 1630 families and individuals were deprived of a good that is necessary for their survival but also for their dignity. Since the access to water is not only a question of having enough to drink, but also a necessity for cooking and maintaining a good hygiene, its lack means we are dealing with social and economic exclusion.
The history of Brussels is very closely related to the issue of water. Its name, for instance, comes from Bruoc-sella, the contraction of the gaelic word bruoc (swamp) and the Latin word sella (dwelling). So is it not paradoxical to remove the inhabitants of a good that co-defines their identity? The decline in the supply of water for daily use in Brussels is not a recent problem. In 1856, the public water sources were removed in order to encourage residents to subscribe to the official water distribution network. The city wanted to raise their income but while the inhabitants of Brussels were gaining in comfort, they also lost their free access to water.
Today, although they are still present, most of the urban fountains are no longer functioning. Their replacement by the vending machines of private multinationals has turned the vital need of water, of which the community is no longer conscious, into a merchant property. But one thing is certain, it is time to give the water back to the inhabitants of Brussels, and no longer to Manneken Pis.
To learn more about water in Brussels, we invite you to consult the informative and critical videos and articles beneath.