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Introduction

Facing the Challenges of Water Governance: Moving from the Public Versus Private Debate to Other (At Least) Equally Important Governance Issues

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Water Governance: Policy and Practice book series (PSWG)

Abstract

Good water management is essential to human development, people’s well-being, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations set forward an ambitious agenda of providing universal access to good quality water supply and sanitation services within a financially constrained environment. However, the various peculiarities of each country regarding water governance makes it difficult to identify and implement the best practices and benchmarks. When it comes to water governance issues, the private versus public management question stays at the core of the public debate, for ideological reasons but also for practical ones; when there is a need for investments the temptation to look for private finance is natural. We argue that it pushes to the background other issues which are at least equally important, such as the proper scale to operate water services, stakeholders’ engagement, or the need for independent regulatory agencies.

Keywords

  • Water Governance
  • Water Service Operators
  • Increasing Block Tariffs (IBTs)
  • Private Sector Participation
  • Rigid Contracts

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 1.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The data come from the water survey of the French Environment Institute (IFEN)/Observation and Statistics Department (SOeS). Five thousand French municipalities were surveyed in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2008, which provided a representative panel of French water services. The survey was abandoned after 2008 and replaced with a French Observatory (Sispea) that was supposed to collect information from municipalities on every water service in France on a voluntary basis. The observatory exists, but despite multiple efforts to improve the situation, the data are far from representative and reliable.

  2. 2.

    The water utility performance index (WUPI) of the World Bank is a simple global index measuring how closely a utility company operates to accepted good practices. The index is based on ten dimensions generally accepted as key performance indicators in the industry and available from the IBNET dataset for most utility companies in the region. Those dimensions fall into three categories: coverage (water, sewer, and wastewater treatment); quality (service continuity and sewer blockage); and management (metering, NRW, staff productivity, collection rate, and operating cost recovery).

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Porcher, S., Saussier, S. (2019). Introduction. In: Porcher, S., Saussier, S. (eds) Facing the Challenges of Water Governance. Palgrave Studies in Water Governance: Policy and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98515-2_1

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