Reclaiming Public Water: Participatory Alternatives to Privatisation

Participatory Alternatives to Privatisation
09 October 2004

The time has now come to refocus the global water debate to the key question:how to improve and expand public water delivery around the world? Important lessons can be learned from people-centred, participatory public models that are in place or under development in cities like Dhaka Bangladesh), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Savelugu (Ghana) and Recife (Brazil), to mention a few.

Due to the ideology-driven privatisation wave, the 1990's was essentially a lost decade for the struggle for clean water for all. High-profile privatisation failures in major cities of the South provide ample evidence that the water needs of the poor should not be left in the hands of profit-driven transnational water corporations.

The time has now come to refocus the global water debate to the key question:how to improve and expand public water delivery around the world? Important lessons can be learned from people-centred, participatory public models that are in place or under development in cities like Dhaka (Bangladesh), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Savelugu (Ghana) and Recife (Brazil), to mention a few.

In these cities, public water supply has been improved through increased popular control and other democratic reforms. In all their diversity, these models provide inspiring and viable alternatives both to failing state-run utilities and profit-driven private water management. This TNI Briefing Reclaiming Public Water! is produced by the Water Justice project as part of TNI's Alternative Regionalisms programme.The Water Justice project is developed jointly with CEO and focuses on strengthening international solidarity in campaigning against water privitisation as well as on promoting people-centered alternatives.

* Introduction * Privatisation: Has the Tide Turned? * Reclaiming Public Water o "Social" Control in Brazil o Cochabamba: Public-Popular Partnership o Ghana: Public-Community Partnerships o Dhaka: Public-Workers Partnership o Co-operative Water Management in Bolicia o Water Solidarity via Public-Public Partnerships * Up-scaling Water Democracy? * Notes * Book on Water Privatisation * Get involved in Waterjustice.org * Further Resources

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