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Public Water Services

  • By: Emanuele Lobina & David Hall
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Public water services encompass the provision of collective services to a given community, typically an urban center. Water supply entails the abstraction of raw water from a natural source, such as surface water (e.g., rivers and lakes) or groundwater (i.e., aquifers); its treatment to make it fit for human consumption; and, finally, its distribution to households and commercial users via an underground pipeline network. This entry discusses public water services as a natural monopoly, the history of public water service organizations in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, public water services in developing countries, global trends concerning the public versus private provision of water services, the restructuring of public water operations, and the principles underlying successful public sector reform.

A Natural Monopoly

The technical ...

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