Project

Barriers and Conditions for the Involvement of Private Capital and Enterprise in Water Supply and Sanitation in Latin America and Africa: Seeking Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability

Goal: This project (acronym = PRINWASS - www.prinwass.org) was carried out between 2001 and 2004 and examined cases of privatisation of water and sanitation services in Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Updates
0 new
0
Recommendations
0 new
0
Followers
0 new
15
Reads
0 new
132

Project log

Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
The full pdf file is available at: http://waterlat.org/WPapers/WGWPVol5No2.pdf. This issue of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Working Papers features two articles presenting edited materials based on the original reports from the case studies carried out in Kenya and Tanzania. These two cases provide examples that have important lessons for current debates on the privatization of essential public services in developing countries, as we currently experience a revival of the water politics implemented worldwide in the 1990s, often with complete disregard for the lessons learned from the recent past. The two Kenyan cases examined in Article 1 provide excellent information about the overall situation of essential water services in the country, and a detailed account of the process of privatization launched by the government in the mid-1990s with the support of international financial institutions and development agencies. In practice, the two cases under consideration in the article, the experiences of Nyeri Town and Tala Town, are mostly cases of commercialization of water supply services. Article 2 discusses the implementation of privatization policies in Tanzania, which took place around the same time than in Kenya, and under relatively similar circumstances, with a strong presence of international financial institutions and development agencies providing support and funding for the required reforms. The article focuses on the privatization of the capital city Dar es Salaam's public utility, DAWASA, which was a very difficult experience and took almost six years to be completed. Differently from the Kenyan cases, where the participating private companies were local, in Dar es Salaam there was a strong presence of multinational water companies.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
The edition of this chapter in Portuguese is a contribution to the ongoing debate about the water crisis affecting Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which prompted an ongoing debate after a long drought that happened in 2014-2015. The crisis has triggered a renewed debate about the long-term project of privatization of the public water utility serving the State of Rio de Janeiro, CEDAE. The chapter highlights the lessons learnt from the privatization of the water utility in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early 1990s, and the re-publicisation of the company in 2006 after the complete failure of the privatization project. Argentina is still paying a very hight cost derived from the privatization of public utilities in the 1990s, and this should provide a warning lesson for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil more generally.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
Jose Esteban Castro
added 3 research items
This article offers an overall synthesis of the contents of a number of selected papers on water governance and policy presented at the 5th IWHA Conference 'Pasts and Futures of Water' that took place in Tampere, Finland, on 13-17 June 2007. Therefore, the authors do not intend to present here their own views on the topics covered, which they have described in more detail elsewhere, but rather seek to capture the key issues emerging from the broad range of perspectives on water governance and policy that informed the papers presented at the Conference. There is growing consensus that the global water crisis is mainly a crisis of 'governance'. In most countries plentiful water resources can no longer be taken for granted. More and more people in an increasing number of countries are experiencing water differently - as a limited resource that must be carefully managed for the benefit of people and the environment, in the present and for the future. The emerging paradigm is one of resource constraints, conservation, and awareness of the fragility of water's life cycle. Yet, it is still open to debate what 'water governance' exactly means. Moreover, simple definitions of water itself have become obsolete and there is a heated global debate on the topic. Water has multiple functions and values, most of which are incommensurable. While in some of its uses water has increasingly become a commodity, in many other functions water takes the form of a social or public good. For many, the hydrosphere is a common good that must be governed and managed as such. Is the access to essential volumes of safe water a human right or not? Does it really matter? Water serves many roles depending on the wider political, economic, social, cultural and environmental context. Perhaps the crucial question is: Is there truly a new paradigm of water governance emerging, or are we simply engaging in delusionary rhetoric? Many signs all over the world suggest that the way water is perceived, governed, and managed is indeed changing, but the direction of this change is highly uncertain. This is reflected in the ongoing contradictions that characterise the global debates about water governance policy, some of which were captured in the papers presented at the IWHA Conference that we summarise here. The focus of this theme paper is on identifying some of the key building elements of water policy and governance, which we identified as a common thread running through the different presentations. The paper also explores the challenges and opportunities facing the international community for living up to the principles of democratic water governance in a context of increasing global uncertainty.
This article focuses on the arguments used to support private sector participation (PSP) in the provision of water and sanitation services (WSS) since the 1980s. It addresses the following questions: what was the historical evidence informing the claim that promoting PSP would be the best instrument for reducing water poverty? What are the principles that provided the foundation for this claim? And, what has been the empirical record of the resulting WSS policies? It argues that early neoliberal WSS policies since the 1980s were not intended to expand services to the poor. A pro-poor rhetoric was added to these policies since the 1990s, probably as a result of increasing citizen unrest in developing countries and the failure of privatized WSS projects in the Americas and Europe. However, the claim that PSP can provide the solution to public sector failure in extending coverage of essential WSS to the poor has little ground both in the theoretical literature and in the historical record. As could have been expected from the accumulated knowledge about the relationship between market-driven WSS and the poor, the recent experience with PSP projects has been disappointing. In practice these policies not only have failed to extend these essential services to the poor but have also contributed to deepening existing inequalities of power resulting in the weakening of state, local government, and civil society capacities to exercise democratic control over private water monopolies in most developing countries. Reversing this imbalance is one of the crucial challenges ahead in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. However, the article argues that the inertial forces set in motion by the neoliberal model of water policy based on market-centred governance of water and WSS remains the crucial obstacle for the achievement of the goals.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a project goal
This project (acronym = PRINWASS - www.prinwass.org) was carried out between 2001 and 2004 and examined cases of privatisation of water and sanitation services in Africa, Europe and Latin America.