Keywords: England, Wales, water governance, mutualisation, privatisation, public participation, securitisation, water services, water supply, government policy, policy making, water users, water sector restructuring, business models, governance structures, investment decisions, individual influence, private sector, decision making, lobbying networks, pressure groups, user participation, water policy, management strategy
Water governance and water users in a privatised water industry: participation in policy-making and in water services provision: a case study of England and Wales
This paper examines how individuals can influence decisions about the delivery of water services in England and Wales. It first examines the capacity of individuals to shape government policy and then turns to an analysis of the private sector. In particular, we ask whether recent restructuring in the water sector – notably changes in business models and governance structures – has increased the opportunity for individuals to influence the investment decisions made by private firms and their plans for restructuring. The paper concludes that privatisation and restructuring have had a limited impact on an individual water user's capacity to influence decision-making. Water users remain dependent on penetrating state-controlled lobbying networks via sanctioned pressure groups. Recent changes in ideas about governance might have a much more significant impact on user participation in the future.