Innovation and new public water
David A. McDonald
Journal of Economic Policy Reform, 2020, vol. 23, issue 1, 67-82
Technological innovation has made significant improvements to water services but water delivery remains largely unchanged since Victorian times. This is because water is an essential, non-substitutable resource with little potential for economies of scale. By contrast, there has been dynamic innovation in the governance of water services, with privatization now giving way to a significant shift back to public ownership and management, with new and creative forms of societal engagement. This article reviews these governance changes through the lens of a “hydrosocial cycle”, arguing that innovations in “new public water” can only be achieved by recognizing how water-society relations take place.
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