Category Archives: Privatisation

Public v. private water in Italy: a wind of reform against dunes of sand (G. Velluto)

Author

Giuseppe Velluto

Keywords

Competition policy, EU law, Italy, Privatisation, Water industry, Water supply

Abstract

Reviews the organisational models used by Italy to manage its integrated water distribution services. Examines the history of the water supply sector, its division into optimised territorial districts, the tariff regime and the regulatory framework governing the award of the concession for the integrated management of water, including the scope for the participation of public and private companies. Details the principles governing in-house provision of water services, the 2009 reforms to encourage full privatisation and compliance with EU law, and the potential problems of privatisation.

Citation

(2011) 2 International Business Law Journal 149-166

Paper

Public versus private water in Italy : a wind of reform against dunes of sand

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‘Swa’-jal-dhara or ‘Pay’-jal-dhara-Sector Reform and the Right to Drinking Water in Rajasthan and Maharashtra (P. Sampat)

Author

Preeti Sampat

Keywords

Access to water, community ownership, drinking water supply, privatisation, right to water, state run services, structural adjustment, Swajaldhara, water policy, water sector reforms

Abstract

Since the ascent of economic liberalisation in the 1990s, Washington Consensus policies – exemplified by structural adjustment and reform – have become the norm across the globe. As a result the State redefines its role from that of a provider of basic services to a ‘facilitator’ that enables access to these services. Resources like water, energy, health and education are now called socio-economic goods that people must own and maintain on their own. Increasingly in all service sectors – energy, health, education or water-‘demand-driven’ projects formulated and executed by ‘user committees’ that are supposed to establish ‘community ownership’ through initial cost-sharing with all operations and maintenance costs borne by the users. Added to this, establishment of independent regulatory commissions, like those witnessed in the power sector, mean that citizens can no longer hold the State accountable for securing basic services for citizens.

Reforms in the rural drinking water sector in India were adopted in 1999 through the Sector Reform Project (SRP) on a pilot basis and have been scaled up throughout the country in the form of Swajaldhara launched on 25th December 2002. It is premised on a demand-responsive approach where the community initially mobilises 10 per cent of the cost of the project demanded by it and the rest of the funds are contributed by Government of India (GoI). So far five phases of Swajaldhara have commenced on the official understanding that these would achieve a high degree of participation and community control that would meet the needs of water for all. Very often, the socio-political dynamic of a context alters significantly how policies and schemes are implemented and what they achieve for their intended beneficiaries.

A survey of 28 villages in Rajsamand and and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan and 7 villages in Osmanabad and Latur districts of Maharashtra raises questions that need to be investigated if the right to water for all is to be realised. This paper will draw upon the findings of this survey to explore the dynamic between the Scheme and its ability to realise the right to water in an equitable and just manner. The parameters of Swajaldhara, the socio-political context and the process of implementation including bureaucratic practice will be examined to critique the rural drinking water policy of the Indian State and its underlying premise of Structural Adjustment.

Citation

(2007) 3(2) Law, Environment and Development Journal 101

Paper

‘Swa’-jal-dhara or ‘Pay’-jal-dhara-Sector Reform and the Right to Drinking Water in Rajasthan and Maharashtra

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Privatisation of Water: A Historical Perspective (N. Prasad)

Author

Naren Prasad

Keywords

International organisations, MDG, privatisation, United Nations, water history, World Bank

Abstract

Currently, over one billion people worldwide do not have access to drinking water, especially in the developing countries. Since access to water supply became one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), greater attention has been given to this sector. Increasing water coverage and maintaining infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges confronting the water supply sector in developed and developing countries. Very often, water sector reform takes place by involving the private sector. How did this debate start and what is the rationale for the involvement of the private sector? This article looks at the history to demonstrate that private sector has indeed been instrumental in developing water infrastructure in industrialised countries. It also shows how international organisations have shaped today’s water debate. It concludes by arguing that private sector participation in water supply may not be the right option and calls for re-thinking of the water debate.

Citation

(2007) 3(2) Law, Environment and Development Journal 217

Paper

Privatisation of Water: A Historical Perspective

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Water Privatization Trends in the United States: Human Rights, National Security, and Public Stewardship (C.A. Arnold)

Author

Craig Anthony Arnold

Keywords

Water, privatization, property, commodification, watersheds, human rights, national security, public rights, stewardship, fiduciary, public utilities, sustainability, environment, ecology, equity, public trust, state ownership, usufructuary, conservation

Abstract

This article examines 3 aspects of water privatization in the United States: 1) the privatization of public water services and systems; 2) the dominance of private property rights in water amid a complex legal regime of mixed public and private characteristics of water; and 3) the cultural framing of water as a consumer commodity. These trends raise significant humanrights issues, not unlike global debates over humanrights to water, and also critical national security issues related to conflict and scarcity, foreign control over domestic water supplies, and vulnerability to terrorism. More importantly, though, the article critiques the sustainability of the privatization and commodification of water in terms of the ecological, temporal, geographic, socio-ethical, policy, and economic integrity and sustainability of waters and watersheds.

The article concludes that humanrights legal theories lack the capacity to resolve concerns about meeting the human need for water. Likewise, national security policies are too limited to address larger issues of long-term water governance to ensure secure, stable, and sustainable water supplies for the public.

The article proposes an alternative concept: public stewardship of water. This concept is based on the public ownership and control of water (i.e., the state ownership doctrine), subject to private property interests in water that are usufructuary in nature and regulated by the government for the public interest. These property interests in water should be seen as part of a “web of interests” defined by the unique and multi-faceted characteristics of water, including its role in sustaining all life. However, the government should be held to 6 fiduciary duties with respect to all water resources, moving beyond the traditional public trust doctrine: 1) the duty of security; 2) the duty of conservation; 3) the duty of sustainability; 4) the duty of equity; 5) the duty of investment; and 6) the duty of long-range, place-based planning. All stakeholders, including the public, should share in the government’s responsibility for acting on these duties.

Citation

(2009) 33 William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review 785

Paper

Water Privatization Trends in the United States: Human Rights, National Security, and Public Stewardship

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Unequal burden: water privatisation and women’s human rights in Tanzania (R. Brown)

Author

Rebecca Brown

Keywords

water, privatisation, Tanzania, women, human rights, equality

Abstract

Access to water is a critical component in advancing the human rights of women. Although privatisation of water services continues to be pushed by donors such as The World Bank, the available information shows that privatisations are not increasing access to water for poor women. This paper examines the human right to water and why this right is critical for women and girls. It then discusses privatisation, and the tension between contractual obligations and respect for human rights. Finally, it explores some strategies and successes from women’s involvement in the struggle against water privatisation in Tanzania.

Citation

(2010) 18 Gender & Development 59-67

Paper

Unequal burden: water privatisation and women’s human rights in Tanzania

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