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Water and Sanitation Services Public Policy and Management

Order Code: ERC068
ISBN Number: 9781844076567
Publisher: Earthscan
No. of Pages: 368
Date of Publication: 2009

Water and Sanitation Services Public Policy and Management

Price: 62.99

Substantially reducing the number of human beings that lack access to clean water and safe sanitation is one of the key Millennium Development Goals.

This book argues and demonstrates that this can only be achieved by a better integration of the technical and social science approaches in the search for improved organization and delivery of these essential services. It presents a historical analysis of the development of water and sanitation services in both developed and developing countries, which provides valuable lessons for overcoming the obstacles facing the universalization of these services.

Among the key lessons emerging from the historical analysis are the organizational and institutional diversity characterizing the development of water and sanitation internationally, and the central role played by the public sector, particularly local authorities, in such development. It also explores the historical role played by cooperatives and other non-profit institutions in reaching rural and peri-urban areas, as well as the emergence of new forms of organization and provision, particularly in poor countries, where aid and development agencies have been promoting the self-organization of water systems by local communities.

The book provides a critical exploration of these different institutional options, including the interaction between the public and private sectors, the option to introduce market rules for improving efficiency, and the irreplaceable role of public funding as a condition for success.

Although the book features a diversity of approaches, some of which are controversial and mutually exclusive, there are two major structuring assumptions running through and providing a common thread. First, the implementation of models of public policy and management must consider the existence of systemic conditions, that is, factors and processes that are external to the specific field and internal logic of essential public services but that determine the conditions under which these services are organized and delivered. Second, and more importantly, essential, life-sustaining water and sanitation services must be organized around the principles of universality and equity, as their provision constitutes a social right and a state duty that can be subordinated neither to the principle of market efficiency nor to the pursuit of private profit.

The book is divided into two parts: the first reviews theoretical and conceptual issues, including the diversity of organizational and institutional options for the governance and management of water and sanitation services. The second section presents a number of country or regional case studies, each one chosen to highlight a particular problem, approach or strategy. These case studies are drawn from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, covering a wide range of socio-economic and political contexts.

The book will be of great interest to advanced students, researchers, professionals and NGOs in many disciplines, including public policy and planning, environmental sciences, history of technology, civil engineering, public health and development studies.