Catch the mice!

Catch the mice!

I met some of the folks from AquaFed, the International Federation of Private Water Operators, in Marseille.

AquaFed as an industry organization helps its 300 members in 40 countries improve their operations, but it is also a target of activists that do not like the word “profit” and public operators/unions that do not like competition. (For a brutal critique of how those biases hurt the poor, read Water for Sale.)

As most of you know, I am agnostic on the “public versus private” debate. I care most about results. And that’s why I was so pleased to read these AquaFed documents on the policies they recommend [PDF], the results their members have achieved [PDF], and their spot-on economic recommendations [PDF].

Those are policy documents, but this is the money document [PDF] — the one showing how much work is yet to be done:

Note the difference between the MDG “achievement” of less than a billion people lacking “access to an improved water source” (an inadequate measure of “success” that I’ve criticized) and the 3.6 billion who lack access to clean water and 4.2 billion who lack access to reliable water. There’s a LOT of work to do!

Bottom Line: “I don’t care if it’s a black cat or a white cat, as long as it catches mice” — Deng Xiaoping.