Water Governance

Water Governance

An Evaluation of Alternative Architectures

Edited by Asanga Gunawansa and Lovleen Bhullar

This insightful book explores urban water governance challenges in different parts of the world and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of publicly run, privatized, and public–private partnership managed water facilities.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Asanga Gunawansa, Lovleen Bhullar and Sonia Ferdous Hoque

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation, water


Water is essential to life and while access to improved water supply and sanitation services are vital to human health and well-being, it also plays a crucial role in determining the development of a country or region. According to the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund’s report on ‘Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2010 Update’, in 2010 about 87 percent of the global population (about 5.9 billion people) and 84 percent of the people in developing regions had access to piped water supply through house connections or to an improved water source, including standpipes, water kiosks, protected springs and protected wells. However, about 14 percent (884 million people) did not have access to an improved water source and had to use unprotected wells or springs, canals, lakes or rivers for their water needs. Over the years, access to water as a basic human right has been mentioned in a number of international documents of varied normative value. It was first implicitly mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948), which stated in Article 25 that ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care’.