Keywords: public?private partnerships, PPP, Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, Latin America, water supply, drinking water, sanitation, private sector involvement, PSI, water services
Water services in Latin America: experiences with public?private partnerships
This paper analyses the appropriateness of public versus private models of providing and managing water and sanitation services. Better management practices, along with well-suited institutional arrangements, are needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water supply and sanitation. There has been Private Sector Involvement (PSI) in the drinking water sector in the four cases studied in this paper: Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Cartagena de Indias and Santiago de Chile. Each has its own particular history with regards to governance, the institutional arrangements and the particular socioeconomic conditions that were in place at the time of the PSI. The paper concludes that PSI in water services in Latin America may increase the possibility of reaching the targets established in the MDGs, but this can only happen if appropriate financial schemes for water tariffs are in tune with the consumers' ability to pay. Secondly, a solid institutional arrangement and a regulatory framework need to be in place, and finally there should be active citizen participation at the community level.