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Public Water and Covid-19: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings


Covid-19 has once again demonstrated the significance of safe, accessible and affordable water for all. It has also highlighted enormous disparities in service provision while at the same time dealing a blow to public water and sanitation operators around the world due to massive drops in revenues, rapidly rising costs and concerns about health and safety in the workplace. This book provides the first global overview of the response of public water operators to this crisis, shining a light on the complex challenges they face and how they have responded in different contexts. It looks specifically at ‘public’ water and asks how public ownership and public management have enabled (or not) equitable and democratic emergency services, and how these Covid-19 experiences could contribute to expanded and sustainable forms of public water services in the future.

Read the FULL BOOK or individual chapters below.

LISTEN: Dr. David McDonald chats with CFRC Podcast network on the collection and public water and COVID-19. 

To cite this publication, please use:

DA McDonald, S Spronk and D Chavez (eds). 2020. Public Water and Covid-19: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings, Municipal Services Project (Kingston), Transnational Institute (Amsterdam) and Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) (Buenos Aires) 


Public Water and Covid-19: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

Chapter 1
Introduction: Why Public Water Matters 

David A. McDonald, Susan Spronk, and Daniel Chavez 

Chapter 2
Covid-19 and Structural Inequalities: Class, Gender, Race and Water Justice

Susan Spronk 

Chapter 3
Are We All in This Together? Covid-19 and the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

Alex Loftus and Farhana Sultana 

Chapter 4
Reinventing Public Water amid Covid-19 in Terrassa

Mar Satorras, David Saurí and Hug March

Chapter 5
Water Shutoff Moratoria in the United States: The Role of Cities and States

Mildred E. Warner, Marcela González Rivas, Mary Grant and Xue Zhang 

Chapter 6
Community-Based Water Provision in Colombia in Times Of Covid-19 

Denisse Roca-Servat, María Botero Mesa and Sara Correa Zuluaga

Chapter 7
A Beacon of Hope at a Time of Crisis? Pursuit of Affordable Public Water in Baltimore

Mary Grant

Chapter 8
Covid-19, Water and the State in Uruguay: Dark Clouds Over a Successful Model of Public Services Delivery

Daniel Chavez, Pablo Messina and Martín Sanguinetti

Chapter 9
Transnational Solidarity: European Public Water Operators Working Across Borders to Address Covid-19

Milo Fiasconaro and Jovana Gojkovic

Chapter 10
Water Operators Partnerships (WOPs): Public Utility Knowledge Exchange and Solidarity in Response to Crisis

Craig Laird and Elisa Bernal

Chapter 11
Defending Public Water in Times Of Crisis: “Popular Water Government” in Caracas, Venezuela

Rebecca J. McMillan

Chapter 12
A Double-Edged Sword? Covid-19 and Water Remunicipalization in Jakarta

Marwa Marwa

Chapter 13
An Opportunity to Pause and Reimagine: Jamaica’s Public Water After Covid-19 

Beverley Mullings

Chapter 14
An Insider’s Perspective: HAMBURG WASSER’s Response to Covid-19

Christopher Herzog, Arnd Wendland and Claudia Wendland

Chapter 15
Covid-19 And The Hope for Democratic Water Ownership In Ghana

Leonard Shang-Quartey

Chapter 16
A Democracy Stress Test: Eau De Paris and The Covid-19 Crisis

Anne Le Strat

Chapter 17
Nigeria’s Informal Water Providers: Filling in The Public Gaps

Susan Agada

Chapter 18
A Tale of Two Water Operators: Legacies of Public Versus Private Amidst Covid-19 in Pittsburgh

Marcela González Rivas

Chapter 19
The Long Road Out of Crisis: (Re)building Trust in Flint’s Public Water from Poisoning to Pandemic

Benjamin J. Pauli

Chapter 20
Full Cost Recovery Meets Crisis: Guaranteeing Access to Water Under Covid-19 In Colombia

Jeimy Alejandra Arias Castaño and Kathryn Furlong

Chapter 21
Cape Town’s Crisis-Ridden Response to Covid-19

Greg Ruiters 

Chapter 22
Sober Second Thoughts: Covid-19 and Water Privatization in Canada

Robert Ramsay

Chapter 23
The Paradox Of Free Urban Water: Burkina Faso’s Fight Against Covid-19

Catherine Baron and Léandre Guigma

Chapter 24
Adaptability, Community and Solidarity: Public water operators in France during Covid-19 

France Eau Publique

Chapter 25
“The People Won't Give up, Damn it!”: Reclaiming Public Water in Buenaventura, Colombia

Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero

Chapter 26
The Success of Public Water in Battling Covid-19 In Finland

Petri S. Juuti and Riikka P. Rajala

Chapter 27
Blue Communities in Quebec: Upholding The Highest Water Standards in Uncertain Times

Isabelle Delainey

Chapter 28
Ability to Pay Versus Right to Water: Commercial Imperatives and Social-public Alternatives in Medellin, Colombia

Denisse Roca-Servat and Erika Meneses 

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