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 14: Re-municipalization of water utilities: back to the public fold

Asanga Gunawansa and Vanessa Garcia


On 31 October 2011, the seven-billionth human being was born on this planet (UNFPA, 2011). More people live on earth today than have ever lived before since the beginning of time. Since the end of World War II, the world’s population has almost quadrupled in size, sharing the same resources that we have had for centuries. This squeeze on our resources is being felt in every sector, including the water sector. Water is an essential resource for life on earth and it is generally recognized that people have a fundamental right of access to clean and consumable water. However, water as a natural resource is not fairly distributed across the globe. Furthermore, only a part of natural water resources in the world can be contained and utilized. Whilst some countries and cities might be fortunate to have water in abundance, in other places water security is a key impediment to sustainable development. According to the UN (2010), water use increased sixfold during the twentieth century, more than twice the rate of population growth. In some developing countries, including China and India, and also developed countries, including some parts of the United States, groundwater is being consumed faster than it is being replenished, and as a result groundwater tables are said to be falling steadily.

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