OECD Studies on Water

2224-5081 (online)
2224-5073 (print)
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Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.

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Private Sector Participation in Water Infrastructure

Private Sector Participation in Water Infrastructure

OECD Checklist for Public Action You do not have access to this content

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16 Mar 2009
9789264059221 (PDF) ;9789264059214(print)

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Many countries have sought the involvement of the private sector to upgrade and develop their water and sanitation infrastructure and improve the efficiency of water systems. This book provides a coherent catalogue of policy directions, including appropriate allocation of roles, risks and responsibilities, framework conditions and contractual arrangements necessary to make the best of private sector participation and to harness more effectively the capacities of all stakeholders.
Also available in French
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  • Introduction
    Water and sanitation is a key sector where much effort is needed: with over a billion people without access to drinking water and 2.6 billion lacking basic sanitation, developing the relevant infrastructure constitutes a major challenge. Financing the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for water and sanitation in developing countries (i.e. halving the proportion of people without access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015) would require investments of some USD 72 billion per year (18 billion for coverage extension and 54 billion for maintenance). OECD countries also face significant financial challenges to replace ageing water infrastructure and comply with ever-stringent water regulations: France and the UK for instance need to increase spending on water by 20% and Japan and Korea by over 40% to 2030 to maintain current services. To meet these tremendous needs and expand their infrastructure in a context of tight budgetary constraints, but also in an attempt to improve the efficiency of – often deficient – water systems, many developing and emerging countries have sought the involvement of the private sector.
  • Definitions, Trends and Concepts
    The Checklist aims to assist governments and their partners in facilitating the development and management of infrastructure with a view to increasing sustainable access to safe and reliable drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. The focus, therefore, is mainly on developing and emerging countries, where extending the relevant infrastructure constitutes a major challenge. High-income countries also face substantial investment needs in order to maintain and replace ageing networks but the issues and conditions differ depending on the level of development. These differences are most notable in the areas of institutional and regulatory framework development and level of access to water and sanitation. Nevertheless, the practices of OECD countries are presented when relevant, as they provide useful insights on issues at stake and possible policy responses.
  • Checklist for Public Action in the Water Sector
    Organised around the 24 OECD Principles for Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure, this Checklist for Public Action aims to help governments wishing to engage the private sector in the development and management of water and sanitation infrastructure. For each Principle, the Checklist lists the key specificities of the water and sanitation sector; the corresponding issues for governments; and some available tools and country practices. It highlights five areas of key importance for consideration by governments: 1. Deciding on the nature and modalities of potential private sector involvement; 2. Providing a sound institutional and regulatory environment for infrastructure investment; 3. Ensuring public and institutional support; 4. Making the co-operation between the public and private sectors work in the public interest; 5. Encouraging responsible business conduct.
  • Water at a Glance
    In order to support the conceptual work on private sector participation in water and sanitation infrastructure, a systematic review of country experiences has been carried out based on a common framework. It involves some 30 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia/Pacific (Table 3.1) in several "dimensions" (Table 3.2). The resulting OECD Water at a Glance information base provides the basis for this section on regional trends and practices. A word of caution is necessary regarding the quality of data and particularly of time series. Changes in monitoring methods within countries and heterogeneity across country methodology may considerably alter the reliability of data and make comparisons over time and across countries difficult. Setting aside the potential measurement problems of absolute levels, broad trends still emerge from the information collected for Water at a Glance. The available data is also qualified and supported by qualitative information that allows for a better understanding of specific contexts.
  • References and websites
  • Annex
    The OECD work presented in this session builds on the OECD Principles for Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure launched in 2007 to provide practical guidance to governments and institutions on how to make the most of private sector participation in water and sanitation. It is part of a broader OECD horizontal project on Sustainable financing to ensure affordable access to water and sanitation that addresses the economic basis for sustainable water service provision and sound water management.
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