Spilled Water: Institutional Commitment in the Provision of Water Services

Jan 1999
Spiller, Pablo T.;Savedoff, William D.
Latin America loses about nine trillion cubic meters of water each year, or some 30 percent of the water collected and treated for public consumption. While it is impossible for water systems to deliver 100 percent of their water to the household tap, Latin America could cut those losses by more than three-quarters by applying international standards to the management and operation of water systems. Spilled Water shows that the problem is not a result of insufficient capital, or lack of technical or manpower capability, but rather related to the political economy of the sector. The nature of the sector, coupled with the nations' political institutions, create incentives for governments to behave opportunistically, for water companies to operate inefficiently, and for the public to withhold support from the sector.