The rapid demise of the Cochabamba water service concession has been heralded by observers as a major popular victory in the struggle against the forces of globalisation (Lobina, 2000). This analysis suggests that such an interpretation is mistaken. The evidence suggests that the lowest five deciles of the urban population stood to gain most from the successful implementation of the Contract - both in the short term (i.e. the introduction of cross-subsidisation through the IBT and reduction in leakage rate) and over the longer term (i.e. the extension of the pipe network to poor neighborhoods currently dependent on high-cost water vendors).... which include poor regulation, a bad process for choosing the concessionaire, a typical backlash by those wishing to protect their subsidies, and -- most of all -- terrible political leadership. Read it.
Rather, the failure of the Cochabamba concession was due to a combination of complex political, social and economic factors...
08 November 2011
Why Cochabamba failed
via JW, I got this very interesting analysis [PDF] of the reasons behind the "failure" of water privatization in Cochabamba, Bolivia (and confirmation of what I said in my book). They are interesting, but not as important as this conclusion: