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Best practices in regulating State-owned and municipal water utilities


  • Berg, Sanford V.


The fundamental lesson that emerges from this survey of regulating state-owned and municipal water utilities in developing countries is that sector regulation has to be embedded in an adequate and consistent institutional framework in order to have a positive impact on performance. Sector regulation, by itself, is no guarantee of performance improvements in the drinking water supply and sanitation sector. Case studies and empirical analyses suggest that without significant changes in the supporting institutions, the standard tools of regulation will not be effective. This conclusion is disturbing, especially for developing countries, since it means that the establishment of a regulatory agency might raise hopes, but ultimately, the agency's rules are unlikely to improve performance without additional, politically difficult initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Berg, Sanford V., 2013. "Best practices in regulating State-owned and municipal water utilities," Documentos de Proyectos 542, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  • Handle: RePEc:ecr:col022:4079
    Note: Includes bibliography

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mvulirwenande, Silas & Alaerts, Guy & Wehn, Uta, 2016. "Closing the Knowledge-Application Gap in Organisations through Incentives: Experience from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation in Uganda," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1-9.
    2. Peci, Alketa & D’Assunção, Márcio Leite & Holperin, Michelle Moretzsohn & de Souza, Celso Florêncio, 2017. "Regulation inside government: The challenges of regulating a government-owned utility," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 61-70.
    3. Marques, Rui Cunha & Pinto, Francisco Silva, 2018. "How to watch the watchmen? The role and measurement of regulatory governance," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 73-81.
    4. Gustavo Ferro & Andrea Castellano & Chaz Sardi, 2020. "Políticas Regulatorias Aplicadas a Sectores de Infraestructura en Argentina," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 714, Universidad del CEMA.
    5. González-Gómez, Francisco & García-Rubio, Miguel A. & González-Martínez, Jesús, 2014. "Beyond the public–private controversy in urban water management in Spain," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 1-9.
    6. World Bank Group, "undated". "Africa's Pulse, No. 17, April 2018," World Bank Other Operational Studies 29667, The World Bank.
    7. Marques, Rui Cunha, 2017. "Why not regulate PPPs?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 141-146.


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