Project

Urban water cycle and essential public services

Goal: This project is part of the activities carried out within Thematic Area 3, Urban water cycle and essential public services, of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network (http://waterlat.org/thematic-areas/ta3/). TA3 covers two large fields of research, teaching and practical intervention. The first is the “urban water cycle”, involving the processes of abstraction, production, circulation, use, and return to the water sources in their multiple dimensions and forms, in an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. The second field intersects with the first but also includes processes that are located outside the urban milieu, as it addresses the question of essential public services based in one way or another on the use of water, including the distribution of water for human consumption, wastewater management, management of urban rainwater, etc.

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Jose Esteban Castro
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a debate about political ecology and the notion of hydrosocial territories
Jose Esteban Castro
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Available for downloading at: https://waterlat.org/working-papers-series/volume-7-2020/vol-7-no-3/ In this issue we feature five articles focused on experiences from Bolivia, Chile, France, and Spain, presenting research results, some originated in doctoral dissertations. Article 1 was authored by Christelle Pezon, from the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM), at the Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Action-oriented Sciences (LIRSA), Paris, France. The paper presents a synthetic historical overview of the changing institutional arrangements for the provision of water and sanitation services in France. The focus is on the expected far-reaching impacts of the 2015 NOTRe Law, which prompted a historical reform by transferring the responsibility over water services from 36,600 municipalities to 2,000 urban and rural communities. The author argues that the reform presents unprecedented challenges for rural areas and small towns but may also end the long-standing dichotomic choice between public and private management of water services facing local governments since the 19th century and induce the development of more complex arrangements dependent on political negotiations between local authorities, service providers, and users. Article 2 was written by Cristian Flores Fernandez from the Integrative Institute of Research on Transformations of Human-Environmental Systems (IRI THESys), and Department of Geography, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. The paper addresses the Chilean model of privatized urban water and sanitation services, and presents a critical assessment aimed at exposing the “myths” associated with this experience. The author provides a historical overview of the Chilean model of privatization and uses the 2019 sanitary crisis that affected over 140 thousand people in the city of Osorno as an empirical example of the failures and risks associated with the privatization of essential water and sanitation services. The Chilean case is also the object of Article 3, by Melissa Bayer, from the Institute of Geography, University of Münster, Germany. The author examines the situation affecting informal settlements in the city of Antofagasta, one of the wealthiest regions in Chile, measured by per capita income, but also presenting the highest levels of inequality. These settlements are not included in the formal system of water provision, which is run by a public water utility from Colombia operating in Antofagasta as a private concessionaire. The author examines how the alternative arrangements developed by people in these informal settlements to get water is associated with the search for social inclusion, and the recognition of their citizenship rights. In Article 4, Francesca Minelli, currently an Independent Research in Munich, Germany, presents a synthetic analysis based on her recent doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, on the histories and prospects facing water cooperatives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The paper places emphasis on the role played by cooperatives in developing water services in areas of Cochabamba that lacked formal access to essential services, and how they established legitimate forms of control over their territories and water sources. The article also discusses the diversity of challenges facing the cooperatives in rapidly changing circumstances, including a consideration of the threats and risks to their survival owing to a decline in the active participation of members in several cooperatives, the increasing competition with other actors over water sources, and the financial pressures posed by maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructures. Finally, Article 5, by Noelia Rodriguez Prieto, from the University of Alcala, Spain, examines the links between water politics and nationalism from a historical perspective. The author discusses the significant role played by water politics after the “1898 Disaster” derived from the war between Spain and the United States that accelerated the end of the Spanish Empire with the loss of its main remaining colonies, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Establishing control over water sources through large-scale infrastructures became a central strategy in the search to reorganize Spanish society, rebuild its economy, and reinvent its national identity. The paper provides a synthetic analysis of the contrasting forms of “nationalism” associated with this water-management-based transformation of Spanish society between the late 19th century and the 1970s. The argument focuses on the contrast between the modernizing water politics proposed by the intellectual, professional, and political elite of “regenerationists” (regeneracionistas) after 1898 and the extremely conservative nationalism grounded on the construction of large-water infrastructures developed by the Dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1940-1975).
Jose Esteban Castro
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This book, published in 2013, is an updated and extended version of José Esteban Castro and Léo Heller (Eds.), Water and Sanitation Services: Public Policy and Management (Earthscan, 2009; Routledge, 2012) and contains 5 new chapters on Brazil and 1 on Venezuela. O livro estrutura-se com base em vários pressupostos, que proporcionam um arcabouço comum para as diferentes contribuições, ainda que tais pressupostos sejam da responsabilidade dos organizadores, e não inteiramente compartilhados por todos os autores participantes. Em primeiro lugar, presumimos que as políticas concernentes ao saneamento devam se fundamentar no princípio de que esses serviços constituem um direito social do cidadão; em outras palavras, é obrigação do Estado garantir o acesso universal a eles. Essa conceituação apoia-se nos princípios da universalidade e da equidade, de acordo com os quais todo cidadão, independentemente de sua classe social, gênero, origem étnica ou qualquer outro fator de diferenciação social, tem direito irrestrito aos bens e serviços julgados essenciais à manutenção da vida numa sociedade civilizada. Os países do Norte desenvolvido conseguiram chegar à universalização dos SAE essenciais, durante o século XX, graças à adoção desses princípios, que foram defendidos por uma ampla gama de forças sociais e políticas. Não há razão para crer que a universalização de tais serviços em escala global possa ocorrer na ausência de um compromisso similar. Entretanto, estamos cientes de que, ao adotar esse pressuposto, afastamo-nos de posições rivais, que defendem a organização do saneamento com base nos princípios de mercado, segundo os quais esses serviços devem ser considerados um bem privado, uma mercadoria, e não mais um bem público ou social (e.g. PAS-CIPP; CIPP, 2002; UNESCO-WWAP, 2006, p. 409). Essas posturas são defendidas por instituições multilaterais, organizações internacionais, integrantes do meio acadêmico e profissionais, entre outros, que enfatizam a eficiência do mercado como o objetivo primordial da gestão dos serviços de saneamento, em detrimento dos princípios de universalidade, equidade e eficácia social. Temos a sólida convicção de que a organização e a prestação dos SAE não podem ser subordinadas a interesses de mercado nem devem ficar sujeitas a critérios mercadológicos como principal princípio organizador e de que a busca de uma gestão sensata e sustentável dos aspectos econômicos, financeiros e técnico-infraestruturais desses serviços essenciais não exige que sejam tratados como bens privados. O acesso aos serviços essenciais constitui um direito fundamental, que não pode ficar sujeito à capacidade individual de pagamento dos usuários e deve ser garantido pelo Estado. Em segundo lugar, presumimos que as políticas públicas e a gestão no campo do saneamento dependem das configurações historicamente específicas das condições físico-naturais, socioeconômicas, políticas e culturais que caracterizam os diferentes países e regiões. Em particular, há disparidades fundamentais entre e dentro de países e regiões, no tocante às condições socioeconômicas que constituem a base da organização e o fornecimento de serviços de saneamento e de outros serviços públicos essenciais. Por exemplo, a grande maioria da população mundial sem acesso aos SAE concentra-se em países pobres em desenvolvimento (ONU-HABITAT, 2003). Um relatório recente sugere que muitos desses países não conseguirão atingir os ODM, inclusive relativos aos SAE, por terem “estados frágeis (...) com governança e instituições fracas” (OMS, 2005, p. 27, 71). A fragilidade e as deficiências institucionais são a expressão de processos socioeconômicos e político-estruturais, mas as políticas convencionais de saneamento comumente adotam uma abordagem tecnocrática, supostamente neutra, que não incorpora tais processos na análise. Por isso, a implementação de modelos de políticas públicas e de gestão deve considerar a existência de condições sistêmicas, isto é, de fatores e processos externos ao campo específico e à lógica interna dos serviços públicos essenciais, mas que moldam e até determinam as maneiras pelas quais esses serviços são organizados e prestados. Eles incluem uma ampla gama de problemas, tais como as características socioeconômicas da população, as limitações hidrológicas e hidrogeológicas, os padrões demográficos, as divisões étnicas e culturais, o modelo vigente de desenvolvimento, os processos políticos e assim por diante. Por exemplo, enquanto, nos países desenvolvidos, as políticas concernentes aos serviços de saneamento podem ser concebidas e implementadas num dado contexto de prioridades (a exemplo da reforma de infraestruturas dos SAE herdadas do século XIX) e tendências (como o consumo doméstico estável ou decrescente de água), nos países em desenvolvimento, as necessidades e condições dessas políticas podem ser radicalmente diferentes. Assim, na maioria dessas últimas nações, as políticas de saneamento devem considerar a necessidade de ampliação e aperfeiçoamento contínuo dos serviços, em condições raramente susceptíveis a iniciativas políticas concebidas no contexto dos países desenvolvidos, tais como a recuperação completa dos custos ou a autossuficiência financeira das empresas fornecedoras. Nesses casos, as desigualdades sociais estruturais subjacentes às condições de pobreza generalizada e de miséria extrema, que afetam uma grande parcela da população do Sul global, constituem, com frequência, restrições sistêmicas incontornáveis à implementação de políticas que pressuponham a existência de uma base de consumidores disposta a pagar por serviços mercantilizados e com custos plenamente recuperados. Esta base em geral não existe, ou, na melhor das hipóteses, limita-se a uma fração relativamente pequena da população. Infelizmente, as tradições de elaboração de políticas que prevalecem no setor tendem a desconsiderar a importância dessas e de outras condições sistêmicas que influenciam e estruturam o funcionamento real desses serviços no campo. E este livro contribui para sua incorporação na análise e na prática.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG 6 focuses on access to clean water and sanitation for all. Data are not available on the status in meeting these goals that are specific to the basin of the Paraná River, but the national data generated for the three countries that primarily share the basin (i.e. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) can give an indication of the capacity to meet these goals. A critical review of the data collected to date by the SDG Global Database indicates that, although Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay officially report that they are very close to meeting the SGD 6 targets for providing universal access to safe drinking water and eliminating open defecation, in reality, these countries may fail to achieve these targets. These nations, particularly Argentina and Brazil, report very high levels of service coverage in urban areas, but these data fail to reflect real coverage levels, as shanty towns and favelas are often not included or are not adequately reported. In addition, the water delivered is not always safe for human consumption, which leaves people with no other option than using water from unsafe sources or expensive bottled water. Moreover, these countries face significant challenges in addressing the target to provide universal access to facilities for sanitation and hygiene, particularly among the poorer segments of the population living in rural areas or in urban slums. The situation is particularly acute for Afro-American and Indigenous communities. In meeting the goals to improve water quality (i.e. SGD target 6.3), Brazil appears to be an active participant in programs to monitor water quality and report these data to the Global Database. However, Argentina and Paraguay need to be more active in participating in this process. All three countries are lagging behind in treating domestic and industrial wastewater before discharge into aquatic ecosystems. The level of participation in integrated water resource management programs in all three countries is equal to or less than 50%. However, because of the lack of incentives among stakeholders to participate in these programs, there are significant barriers to expanding these types of water management programs. Although at the country-level, water stress is not a significant threat, large areas of the nations within the basin are affected by medium-to-severe water stress, and a substantial share of the urban population is located in water-stressed regions, particularly in Brazil. Although the three countries appear to have the basic institutions, regulations and organizational mechanisms to meet the SGD 6 targets, they face multiple obstacles for making significant progress. In particular, a lack of commitment to tackle long-standing structural inequalities is a major problem that may prevent these countries from meeting SGD 6; a situation that has been emphasised in recent reports by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The annual meetings of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of ECLAC may provide the impetus for Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to participate in the process of meeting the objectives of SGD 6.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
The issue and its articles are fully downloadable at: http://waterlat.org/publications/working-papers-series/vol5/vol-5-no-4/ This issue is part of the activities of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network’s Thematic Area 3 (TA3), the Urban Water Cycle and Essential Public Services (http://waterlat. org/thematic-areas/ta3/). TA3 brings together academics, students, professionals working in the public sector, workers’ unions, practitioners from Non-Governmental Organizations, activists and members of civil society groups, and representatives of communities and users of public services, among others. The remit of this TA is broad, as the name suggests, but it has a strong focus on the political ecology of urban water, with emphasis on the politics of essential water services. Key issues addressed within this framework have been the neoliberalization of water services, social struggles against privatization and mercantilization of these services, the politics of public policy and management in the sector, water inequality and injustice in urban areas, and the contradictions and conflicts surrounding the status of water and water services as a public good, as a common good, as a commodity, as a citizenship right, and more recently, as a human right. The publication is a product of a long-term collaboration with the Capacity Development of Water and Environmental Services (CADWES) Research Group, which holds the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Water Services at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland under the coordination of the issue’s co-editor, Prof. Tapio S. Katko. The idea of developing a series of publications on the history and relevance of water-service cooperatives around the world has been an important component of our common research plans and initiatives, and we decided to start with this issue on the challenges and opportunities facing cooperatives in the current context. Consistently with our Network’s inter- and transdisciplinary approach, the authors include academics and post-graduate students from the social sciences, history, and engineering, as well as professionals and leaders of civil society organizations working in areas relevant to the topics addressed in the publication. The issue features four articles, two of them addressing the situation of water-service cooperatives in Finland, and the other two focused on experiences from Argentina. Article 1 is authored by Pekka E. Pietilä from CADWES-TUT and Joni Vihanta, who is the Managing Director of Kannus Water Cooperative in Kannus Municipality, Finland and simultaneously a PhD student doing research on water cooperatives at TUT. The paper presents a synthetic overview of the situation of water cooperatives in Finland, including an analysis of the challenges and opportunities they face in a context of rising consumer expectations and stricter service standards. Article 2 by Petri S. Juuti and Riikka P. Rajala, also from TUT, complements the first paper by focusing attention on the case of the first water cooperative created in Finland, Pispala Water Cooperative, which was founded in 1907 near the city of Tampere in the south of the country. Both articles highlight the fact that in the late Nineteenth Century, before becoming independent from Russia in 1917, Finland decided that essential water and sanitation services should be delivered by municipal public bodies or cooperatives run by users and community organizations, rather than by profit-making private companies, which remains a significant principle for the organization of these services in the country until today. Article 3 is led by Melisa Orta, a PhD student in Politics at the National University of Rosario (UNR) on a studentship from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Argentina, and was co-authored with Margarita Portapila, from the International French-Argentinean Centre of Information Sciences and Systems (CIFASIS), CONICET and UNR, Alberto Muñoz, from Argentina’s Union of Users and Consumers, and Iván Pérez, from the country’s Cooperative Funds Managing Institute (IMFC). The article discusses in some detail the history of the cooperative movement in Argentina since the late Nineteenth Century, and the development of water-service cooperatives in the country. It focuses on the case of water-service cooperatives in the Province of Santa Fe and highlights the significance of cooperatives in the provision of services in small and medium cities and rural areas. The authors also address the wide range of obstacles and threats facing water cooperatives, from the lack of safe water sources and adequate financial and technical resources to the systematic antagonism showed since the 1980s by neoliberal governments that seek to erode and eventually dismantle the cooperative movement, which they see as an obstacle to their plans to fully privatize essential services and other important areas. Finally, Article 4 was authored by Joaquín Ulises Deon, a PhD student in Social Agrarian Studies at the National University of Cordoba (UNC) on a studentship from CONICET, Argentina, also working on a joint PhD on Urban-Regional Studies between the Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Germany, and UNC, Argentina. The article partly complements the previous one by addressing important aspects of the history of the cooperative movement in Argentina, highlighting the fact that not all cooperatives adhere to cooperative principles, and many are in fact private enterprises in disguise. The paper addresses the development of cooperatives, and particularly water-service cooperatives, in the arid Province of Cordoba, Argentina, and focuses in more depth on four cases that the author considers are examples of genuine cooperative experiences. The article presents a very critical assessment of government policies against water-service cooperatives at the national, provincial and local levels, and shows evidence of the multiple pressures facing the cooperative movement in the province. Cooperatives have developed successful strategies to cope with these pressures, by establishing alliances with social movements and civil society organizations, exercising legitimate leadership in local and regional struggles to defend their water sources from the aggressive expansion of extractivist activities, including mining, agribusinesses, and private urbanizations.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
Latin American and the Caribbean (LA&C) is a region of striking contrasts. It is one of the world’s richest regions in the availability of water resources, but large sections of the population continue to suffer lack of access to essential water and sanitation services (WSS) owing to long-standing socio-economic and political factors and processes, which made the region one of the most unequal in the world. This chapter presents a synthetic picture of the overall situation in the region, and discusses the main challenges facing LA&C countries in relation to the goals of universalizing the access to essential WSS. The first section presents the general context, looking at the patterns of population growth and urbanization, the situation of water and sanitation services, and the prospects for universalization of these services by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015. The second section discusses briefly what I consider are the most crucial challenges facing the region to achieve the SDGS, which are not primarily related to physical-natural, climatic or financial constraints, but are rather fundamentally Political, in the highest sense of the term. A succinct concluding section summarizes the main arguments.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
The issue features four articles, three covering topics from Brazil, in Portuguese, and one from Argentina, in Spanish. Article 1 is authored by Suyá Quintslr, Antonella Maiello, and Ana Lúcia Britto, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and addresses the situation of unequal access to water and environmental vulnerability more generally in the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Region. The article is based on research carried out in Queimados municipality, in the Baixada Fluminense, as part of the Network’s DESAFIO Project (http://waterlat.org/projects/desafio/), which was developed between 2013 and 2015. Article 2 was authored by Marcelo Aversa, Vanessa Lucena Empinotti, and Jeroen Johannes Klink, from the Federal University of the ABC in Sao Paulo. It presents a critical discussion of the notion of human right to water adopted by the International System of Human Rights, exposing the contradictions of the concept and of the normative structure behind it, which among other issues simultaneously promotes the human right to water and water privatization as a possible option. The authors also emphasise the contradictions between the privatization-friendly approach to the human right to water promoted by international organizations and national governments and the “philosophy of Living in Plenitude (Buen Vivir)” grounded on Andean indigenous cultures, which inspired pioneering constitutional reforms on this issue in Ecuador and Bolivia. Article 3, by Ana Paula Fracalanza and Mariana Gutierres Arteiro da Paz, from the University of Sao Paulo, focuses on the “crisis of water governance” reflected in the catastrophic water shortages affecting the metropolitan regions of the State of Sao Paulo since 2014. The authors emphasise the contradictions in the urban politics of water and sanitation services, particularly in the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Region, where these services are run on a commercial basis. Among other issues, the article discusses the deepening of the conditions of vulnerability, inequality and injustice affecting the poorer sectors of the population, which according to the authors are caused by the dominant capitalist approach to water management and the lack of implementation of democratic principles and mechanisms enshrined in the 1988 Constitution, such as effective social participation in the control and monitoring of the management of essential services. Article 4 was authored by Ana Núñez, from the National University of Mar del Plata, Argentina, and proposes a critique of prevailing approaches to public-policy analysis using examples from the history of water and sanitation services in Argentina. The author argues that there is a need to transcend what she terms “the hegemonic academic literature that places emphasis on the techno-bureaucratic and physical aspects of management” and proposes to focus on how public policies are generated and developed, giving analytical pre-eminence to the study of these policies “as a process and an instrument of social struggle” in the context of a capitalist social order grounded on the production and reproduction of social inequalities. The topics covered by the four articles are of the highest relevance. They address problems that are among the key factors accounting for the failure in meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation services, and contribute to the ongoing debates about the obstacles and opportunities that we face in relation to the new challenges set by the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to universalise the access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
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 an update
Katko T., Juuti P. & Schwartz K. (eds.) & Rajala R. (ass. ed.) 2013. Water Services Management and Governance: Past Lessons for a Sustainable Future. IWA Publishing.
has now become available as an open book:
 
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
The paper argues that achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals set by the international community for the year 2030, which includes the universalization of access to essential water and sanitation services, requires radical action to overcomes serious obstacles. In particular, it is needed to abandon the prevailing approach promoted by international financial institutions, governments, donors, and private corporations that aim to organize the delivery of these services on market, for-profit principles. Given that most the unserved population in the planet is composed of marginalized and poor, vulnerable communities, what is needed is an approach like the one that allowed rich developed countries to achieve full universalization of these services during the Twentieth Century. This was made possible through decisive State intervention to ensure the access to quality water and sanitation for everyone, independently of their capacity to pay. This principle was enshrined in the notions of public good and social citizenship rights in the most civilized capitalist democracies. The paper argues that there is no reason to expect that the democratization of the politics, management and access to these services at the global level, as committed in the SGDs, could happen without a similar approach, based on decisive State intervention, abandoning the prevailing public policies that seek the commodification of these essential services. The paper concludes with specific recommendations, derived from the results of recent international research projects.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
This is a special issue dedicated to the widespread mobilizations to oppose further privatizations of water services and to bring back under public control those systems that had been privatized, which have been taking place in Spain over the last decade. It features 6 articles.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a research item
This issue of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network Working Papers includes six contributions. The first article, by Mark Drakeford, presents a historical analysis of the changing arrangements for the provision of essential water and sanitation services in Wales. The second article, by Ross Beveridge, discusses the troubled process that characterized the privatization of Berlin’s Water Company (BWB) in 1999, in the aftermath of the reunification of Germany. In the third article, Emmanuel Akpabio, Eti-ido Udofia, and Kaoru Takara discuss some aspects of the interrelations between people and water in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. The fourth article, by Melina Tobias, Damiano Tagliavini, and Melisa Orta, addresses the current global wave of re-publicization of formerly privatized water and sanitation companies, looking at the experiences of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe in Argentina. In the fifth article, Luisa Arango and Jorge Rowlands provide and introduction to meta-studies of water-related research carried out by French and British anthropologists. They include a translation of work previously published in French by Barbara Casciarri and Mauro Van Aken. The sixth and final article, by Ladislau Dowbor and Arlindo Esteves Rodrigues, focuses on the contradictions characterizing the conceptualization of water by different social actors, in particular the contradictions between market-driven notions of water as a commodity and civil-society understandings of water as a common good. The six articles composing this edition, from authors based in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, provide important contributions to current debates about the politics of essential water-related services. They also offer important insights about new avenues for research on water issues, aiming to enhance our knowledge of both empirical experiences and academic traditions that often remain isolated from each other whether because of geographical, national or cultural obstacles and distances.
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 a research item
A extrema desigualdade e a injustiça que continuam afetando os países da América Latina possuem uma de suas expressões mais preocupantes nas assimetrias que caracterizam os processos políticos envolvidos no controle, na gestão e no acesso aos serviços de saneamento básico. Na América Latina, a desigualdade e a injustiça neste aspecto da vida social se expressam muito cruamente. Apesar dos notáveis avanços dos últimos anos, um grande número de pessoas não tem acesso a esses e outros serviços essenciais à vida. Da mesma maneira, ao nos referirmos às formas de controle social, democrático e de gestão dos serviços básicos, também verificamos situações geradoras e reprodutoras de desigualdade e injustiça, como é o caso dos baixos níveis de transparência dos administradores e fornecedores dos serviços e as limitações ao exercício real de direitos democráticos por parte da cidadania, inclusive nos países que vêm realizando ingentes esforços para melhorar a qualidade e o acesso aos serviços.
Jose Esteban Castro
added a project goal
This project is part of the activities carried out within Thematic Area 3, Urban water cycle and essential public services, of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network (http://waterlat.org/thematic-areas/ta3/). TA3 covers two large fields of research, teaching and practical intervention. The first is the “urban water cycle”, involving the processes of abstraction, production, circulation, use, and return to the water sources in their multiple dimensions and forms, in an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. The second field intersects with the first but also includes processes that are located outside the urban milieu, as it addresses the question of essential public services based in one way or another on the use of water, including the distribution of water for human consumption, wastewater management, management of urban rainwater, etc.