The end of the nineteenth century coincided with the end of concession contracts as a desirable option for French municipalities to organise their water services. An increasing number of disagreements between municipalities and their water concessionaires were brought to administrative courts, while the most difficult cases went to the French Supreme Court, the Conseil d'Etat. All cases dealt with the same issue: the conditions to renegotiate and/or terminate concession contracts. The Compagnie Générale des Eaux, the biggest French water company, lost its biggest concession contracts and had to negotiate new contractual arrangements to survive.

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