In an increasingly globalized economy, the privatization of water as an economic good has sparked complex debate. In some cases, privatization has expanded access to water services when governments have failed to do so. But, in many others, concerns over water quality, price increases, and access issues have led to serious clashes between communities and private companies. Despite opposition from community groups, water privatization is likely to increase in the coming years, making the establishment of guidelines essential to ensuring equitable water access, sound ecological practices, and proper regulatory oversight.
In this comprehensive examination of the costs and benefits of water privatization, the authors determine guidelines for equitable privatization using case studies that represent a spectrum of privatization outcomes.