Privatisation: Key to the solution of the global water crises?
Water is fundamental to human living. Nobody can survive without access to drinking water. Therefore, in most societies, drinking water supply is under public control. In the context of the global water crisis, however, there has been a change in paradigm towards liberalisation of the public sector water supply.
The arguments for privatisation or private capital participation are: more efficiency, reduction of costs to the benefit of the consumers, and mobilisation of urgently needed additional capital for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the water supply and sanitation systems. The advocates of these arguments get support by the international financial institutions and the international trade policy.
The critics of liberalisation refer to many examples all over the world, where liberalisation did not improve but even deteriorate the water supply for the consumers. The article argues that an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable water supply needs a strong public interest in and public control of the determination of water prices, quality standards, access and supply, environmental standards, liability, utilisation and property of the plants and of control and intervention.
Water supply is a public task and has to remain under public control. The global drinking water crisis is mainly a crises of the public sector which has to be reformed instead of pouring it with the bath.