The Provision of Public Services in Europe
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The Provision of Public Services in Europe

Between State, Local Government and Market

Edited by Hellmut Wollmann and Gérard Marcou

The book is the first of its kind to provide a comparative analysis of the provision of social and public services in France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Norway.
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Chapter 9: Neither State nor Market: Municipalities, Corporations and Municipal Corporatization in Water Services – Germany, France and Italy Compared

Giulio Citroni


Giulio Citroni MUNICIPAL WATER SERVICES: DEFINITION The provision and regulation of water and sanitation services constitute a complex sector that includes such disparate activities as the collection, potabilization, transport, distribution and sale of drinking water, and the collection and purification of domestic wastewater. This industrial chain, the subject of this chapter, is just one relatively small part of what international agreements1 define as ‘Integrated Water Resource Management’ (IWRM), which includes policies relating to other uses of water – for instance in industry and agriculture – as well as the environmental protection of water basins in general. EU countries are presently implementing Directive 2000/60, setting a framework for water policy by introducing water basin planning, systematizing and streamlining standards and objectives, and providing for stakeholder engagement in water pollution policy. This wider concept of water management will be dealt with only marginally, not because non-domestic uses of water are quantitatively less relevant than urban water consumption (Table 9.1), but because they tend to lie outside municipal competence. The relevance of domestic water services is not limited to the environmental aspects that link it to IWRM and make it part and parcel of sustainability policy; it arises from the importance of a constant and accessible supply of water to the population for their nourishment and hygiene, and to the ‘water business’ involved in constructing, maintaining, and operating plants and networks, and in collecting charges from the population. 191 192 The provision of public services in Europe Table 9.1 Uses of water Agricultural use (%)...

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