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 4: The UK water industry: infrastructure, governance and procurement

Akintola Akintoye and Suresh Renukappa

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


In the early part of the twenty-first century, there is an intense debate over the water industry in the United Kingdom (UK) as well as in other countries. The water industry plays a key role in meeting economic, environmental and social objectives at both national and international levels (Water UK, 2010). There is a general view that the companies and authorities that constitute the UK water industry provide reliable and safe water supply and sewerage services to UK citizens and businesses. The water industry is large and unique. Goldman Sachs (2008) estimates the size of the global water market at US$425 billion with an annual growth rate of 4–6 percent. Maxwell (2005) estimates that worldwide revenues from the water industry range from US$350 billion to US$650 billion. However, according to Abbott and Cohen (2009), the industry structures in the water sector vary across the world in terms of the range of activities that individual businesses undertake, the geographical size, the number and nature of customers they service, the extent of private sector involvement, the scope of competition, the nature and extent of regulation, and the responsible bodies for oversight and/or implementation of regulation.

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