Transformation of Water Services: Lessons Learned from Water Privatization in Multiple Countries

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Pehlivan M., SUSAM N.

JOURNAL OF ECONOMY CULTURE AND SOCIETY, no.65, pp.129-160, 2022 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/jecs2021-943895
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.129-160
  • Keywords: Water services, Transformation of water services, Water privatization, Privatization, Remunicipalization, URBAN WATER, EMPIRICAL-EVIDENCE, PRIVATISATION, EFFICIENCY, COCHABAMBA, SCARCITY, AFRICA
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The transformation of water services is among the issues that have entered the world agenda in the last 30 years. Although recommendations from international organizations affect water policies of individual countries, water privatization realized as public-private cooperation has been spurred by the idea of establishing new markets for global water companies. This transition is rooted in the neoliberal policies of such international organizations. This study, which follows the literature review method, aims to examine the reasons underlying the privatization of water services as well as the privatization practices implemented in different countries. The results reveal that excluding the countries where privatization is offered as a credit requirement by international organizations (India, Argentina, Bolivia, and Turkey), in developed countries (France and England) where privatization is conducted without coercion, water services management has not been successful and cannot be used as an example for other countries. In contrast, many cities in developed and developing countries have recently implemented remunicipalization, returning the control of water services to public authorities. Finally, countries that have implemented privatization have failed in terms of financing, investment and efficiency, and the privatization process has imposed additional financial burdens. Water privatization, therefore, cannot be considered as a solution to water management.