Water Governance
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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.
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Chapter 13: Public and private interfaces: changing international perceptions of public–private partnerships in water services

Håkan Tropp and Camelia Dewan


For those more than 900 million and 2.6 billion people that lack access to adequate water supply and basic sanitation (WaterAid, 2011), respectively, the question remains: from where will the big push come to significantly improve water services for the poor? In regions with the greatest need to develop water services, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, a huge investment gap remains. WaterAid (2011) estimates an annual funding gap in sub-Saharan Africa of US$15 billion and assesses that on average there is a need for spending 3.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on water and sanitation to reach the Millennium Development Goals on water. Most countries in the region spend in fact well below 1 percent of GDP on water services. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) created by the United Nations and committed to by almost all the governments of the world in 2000 focused on ending poverty by targeting a number of development areas. The MDG on water and sanitation states to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. However, the rapidly growing populations and international financial crises make the challenges of reaching the MDG on water and sanitation services formidable. Some countries are on track to reach the water supply target (South-East Asia) but most countries are off-track to reach the sanitation target (most low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa) (WaterAid, 2011).

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