Perilous Waters Selected Papers on the Dangers of Privatizing Irrigation

Published Aug 26, 2019

In an era where the market reigns supreme, evennaturally occurring and commonly held resourcesare privatized and turned into lucrative areas ofinvestment. Such is the attempt of World Bank,and other international financial institutions, onirrigation water. Instead of a public good that thegovernment must provide, the provision of waterfor agriculture is treated as a business venture thatshould accrue profit. Thus, according to such logic,public agencies in charge of irrigation service deliverymust not incur losses otherwise they are deemedinefficient; and the only way to cure such inefficiencyis to pass it on to private entities.However, this line of thinking has failed in not afew cases. In the Philippines alone, the takeover ofprivate enterprises in public utilities such as potablewater and social services such as health and educationdid not necessarily result in a better and moreefficient delivery of such services. In fact, it did thecontrary.

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