Resisting Reform? Water Profits and Democracy

As per the recent UN data 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have adequate access to a decent water supply. A wide range of people and organisations, all united by a belief in market-based economics or a financial stake in the water business (or both) believe that the answer lies in treating water primarily as a commodity to be bought and sold, to make sure all water services can cover their costs and let private companies run the water supply for profit. In Bangalore these arguments have been put forward under the banner of ‘reform’ and has resulted in people being ignored by companies and often their access to water has become worse and unaffordably expensive.

Resisting Reform?: Water Profits and Democracy, looks at the attempts that have been made to ‘reform’ Bangalore's water supply and situates them in their global and national context and that of the city's broader development. It looks at how the ‘reforms’ have entered government policy, who has put them there, and how they have been opposed, principally by the poor in the city. The book argues that involving private companies is no answer to run an equitable water supply. Treating water as a commodity is a dangerous principle for any water service, public or private.

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