This book reveals all that can potentially happen when a private company takes over a local water supply system, both the good and the bad. Backed by real life stories of water privatization in action, author Manuel Schiffler presents a nuanced picture free of spin or fear mongering.
Inside, readers will find a detailed analysis of the multiple forms of water privatization, from the outright sale of companies to various forms of public-private partnerships. After covering their respective strengths and weaknesses, it then compares them to purely publicly managed water utilities.
The book examines the privatization and the public management of water and sewer utilities in twelve countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Philippines, Cambodia, Egypt, Jordan, Uganda, Bolivia, Argentina and Cuba. Readers will come to understand how and why some utilities failed while others succeeded, including some that substantially increased access, became more efficient and improved service quality even in the poorest countries of the world.
It is natural that a private company taking over a local water supply system causes both fear and worry for consumers. With the aid of solid empirical evidence, this book argues that who manages the system is only half the story. Rather, it is the corporate culture of the utilities and the political culture of where they operate that more often than not determines performance and how well a community is served.
Part I: Introduction.- Introduction.- Part II: Latin America: Two Aborted Privatizations and One that Endured.- Bolivia: The Cochabamba Water War and its Aftermath.- Cuba: Water Privatization in a Socialist Country.- Argentina: A Flagship Privatization and its Demise.- Part III: The Middle East: Reform Deadlock, with an Exception.- Egypt: Kafka on the Nile.- Jordan: Private Plants, Public Utilities.- Part IV: Europe and North America: Private and Public Utilities Compared.- The United Kingdom: A Natural Experiment between Private and Public Management.- France: An Improved Partnership in the Motherland of Multinational Water Companies.- Germany: Healthy Municipal Utilities, with a Quirk.- Berlin: Privatized to fill State Coffers, Remunicipalized at the State’s Expense.- Civil Society and the EU Concession Directive: David beats Goliath, Using a Few Tricks.- The United States: Public Water in a Capitalist Country.- Part V: Asia and Africa: Three Successful Utility Turnarounds, Public and Private.- The Philippines: A Delayed Privatization Success Story in Manila.- Uganda: A Public Utility Turnaround, Triggered by Pressure to Privatize.- Cambodia: A Public Utility Turnaround, Ending with Privatization.- Utility Turnarounds Compared: The Importance of Corporate Culture and Financing.- Part VI: Conclusions.- It is not about Private or Public.