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 11: Urban water governance in Australia: the private sector at the margins

Michael Paddon

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


In 2011, a comprehensive review of urban water in Australia by the national Productivity Commission, which generally promotes the more extensive use of market mechanisms in government activities and an increased role for the private sector, concluded that governments play the dominant role in the provision of water services and will continue to do so (Productivity Commission, 2011). While the governance arrangements for urban water vary considerably between the states and territories in Australia, the private sector has not taken a major role in the delivery of water or wastewater services. Involvement of the private sector in Australian water and wastewater services has been limited to specific activities or points in the supply chain, and/or in specific (atypical) locations. This chapter provides an overview of the governance arrangements for urban water across the jurisdictions of Australia and a review of the involvement of the private sector in these arrangements in which government provision remains dominant.

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