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Book part
Publication date: 6 December 2017

Tatjana Volkova and Murod Sattarov

The purpose of the chapter is to develop the pragmatic logical framework for safeguarding successful Public–Private Partnership (PPP) implementations in water supply in…

Abstract

The purpose of the chapter is to develop the pragmatic logical framework for safeguarding successful Public–Private Partnership (PPP) implementations in water supply in emerging markets. The case analysis related to the research question of how efficacy of PPP implementations could be improved revealed considerable shortfalls within the current modus operandi. The research was limited to urban water utilities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with implications most relevant for emerging markets conditions. The proposed logical framework could improve efficacy and sustainability of PPP undertakings in water supply in developing countries. The framework is centred on the simple question: ‘What would constitute a meaningful quid pro quo within the envisioned PPP arrangement to eligible counterparts?’ The framework would necessitate properly answering many complex and uncomfortable questions of PPP arrangements, especially in terms of performance management, public accountability and underlying benefits to the parties. PPP in water utilities is a popular notion amongst governments and the international financial institutions (IFIs). PPP is commonly considered to be a tool for providing an optimal solution to chronic problems of water utilities in terms of underperformance and underinvestment. In-spite of massive efforts of modernization and institutional upgrade of the water utilities in Central Asia, success rate with PPP modalities is still rather low.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Public–Private Partnerships in Developing and Emerging Economies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-494-1

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2007

Amr A.G. Hassanein and Reham A. Khalifa

The paper seeks to assess the performance of 234 public and private water and wastewater utilities from industrialized and developing countries.

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1903

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to assess the performance of 234 public and private water and wastewater utilities from industrialized and developing countries.

Design/methodology/approach

A group of financial and operational indicators was calculated for the sample utilities.

Findings

Some indicators calculated for the private sector, represented by US and UK water and wastewater utilities, demonstrated better values compared with public utilities, such as staff number per 1,000 connections and return on equity ratio and tariffs charged. On the other hand, the percentage of unaccounted‐for water and the debt to equity ratio evidenced no advantage in private over public utilities. Further, the performance of water and wastewater utilities of developing countries and Egypt does need improvement.

Originality/value

A key problem in most of water and wastewater utilities is the absence of performance assessment tools. To this end, this research utilized indicators as a means of performance assessment of water/wastewater utilities.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Andrea Guerrini, Giulia Romano and Bettina Campedelli

The purpose of this paper is to carry out an analysis of Italian water utility companies to determine whether their performance was related to certain relevant variables…

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2646

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to carry out an analysis of Italian water utility companies to determine whether their performance was related to certain relevant variables that have been broadly discussed in the existing literature. Among these are ownership structure, size and diversification. In addition, the paper considers another variable – the geographical location.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviewed the annual financial statements of 80 Italian water utility companies between 2004 and 2008. It also obtained data regarding tariffs, volumes supplied and population served from Conviri, the Italian national authority for water. Finally, the paper discusses the significant differences among clusters, using parametric statistic methods.

Findings

It was found that ownership structure, size, diversification and geographical location had an impact on the performance of water utility companies, although with different degrees of significance.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies are necessary in order to improve the way that performance of water utilities is assessed. First of all, it might be helpful to improve our data categories, adding financial data, tariffs, volumes supplied and population served for more than one year and obtaining segmental reports for multi‐utilities. In addition, it would be interesting to apply other methods, such as DEA analysis, to confirm our research findings.

Practical implications

For a local authority it is convenient to entrust water services to publicly owned companies because they apply lower tariffs and make higher investments pro capita on the pipe network. Moreover, since economies of scale and scope exist, a company's growth and diversification should be encouraged.

Social implications

In Italy the water industry is currently the focus of a vast political debate. As a matter of fact, a recent law (n. 133/2008 article 23‐bis modified in November 2009) encourages private administration of this industry. The results led to an improvement in the debate on the strategic choices and organizational structure of water utilities, giving helpful suggestions to policy makers and local authorities for developing future strategies.

Originality/value

The research findings improve the existing literature on performance assessment regarding water utilities, for the first time focusing on the Italian context, where companies with different features coexist: public and private utilities, small, medium and large companies as well as mono and multi‐utilities.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2011

Mamata R. Singh, Atul K. Mittal and V. Upadhyay

The purpose of this paper is to develop a suitable benchmarking framework that encompasses multiple criteria of sustainable water supply services for assessing the…

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1153

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a suitable benchmarking framework that encompasses multiple criteria of sustainable water supply services for assessing the performance of select North Indian urban water utilities and also to arrive at potential for input reductions (or efficient input levels).

Design/methodology/approach

The study considers 35 North Indian urban water utilities pertaining to two union territories (Chandigarh and Delhi) and three states (Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh) for sustainability‐based performance assessment using input‐oriented variable returns to scale data envelopment analysis (DEA) model. Important criteria considered for sustainable water supply services are service sufficiency, service reliability, resource conservation, staff rationalization, and business viability which in turn address the key sustainability dimensions (social, environmental and financial).

Findings

The approach when applied to a sample of 35 North Indian urban water utilities shows low‐performance levels for most of the utilities, with significant scope for reduction in operation and maintenance expenditure, staff size and water losses. State/UT‐wise analysis of sustainability‐based average efficiency presents the highest score for Chandigarh and the least score for Haryana, whereas the rest of the three states/UT score in between them.

Research limitations/implications

Limited data availability has constrained the incorporation of other sustainability criteria (such as services to the poor, tariff design, customer services, revenue functions, etc.) for efficiency analysis of urban water utilities. Also, estimation of efficiency scores does not encompass the effect of exogenous environmental factors which are beyond utilities' managerial control (such as topography, population density, water source, ownership status, etc.).

Practical implications

This framework would be useful for the regulator or operator of the facility to rank the utilities and devise performance‐linked incentive mechanism or price cap regulation.

Originality/value

This paper is a significant departure from the other international benchmarking initiatives/studies as it develops a holistic framework for benchmarking in the water sector that encompasses multiple criteria of sustainable water supply services using DEA as a tool.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2013

Eija Vinnari and Matias Laine

– The study seeks to add to the understanding of the diffusion and decline of environmental reporting practices.

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1579

Abstract

Purpose

The study seeks to add to the understanding of the diffusion and decline of environmental reporting practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews and municipal water utility publications are analysed to identify factors which have influenced the diffusion and subsequent decline of environmental reporting practices within the Finnish water sector.

Findings

The findings suggest a dynamic view of the diffusion and decline of environmental reporting, showing that a variety of forces operated jointly over time. The initial swift diffusion may be mostly explained from the perspectives of fad and fashion, whereas the subsequent gradual decline of such reporting appears to have been driven mainly by internal organizational factors and a lack of outside pressure.

Research limitations/implications

The paper relies on a qualitative dataset, implying that extensive care is needed when seeking to generalise or apply the findings to different contexts or organizational fields.

Practical implications

The findings presented here should prove interesting for public sector managers, who are considering how, if at all, their organization should engage in social and environmental reporting.

Originality/value

The paper provides new insights into public sector sustainability reporting and presents reasons for its decline. In addition, the analysis illustrates the applicability of Abrahamson's typology of innovation diffusion to the study of social and environmental reporting practices.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Okke Braadbaart

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how benchmarking affects transparency and economic performance in the public sector.

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1810

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how benchmarking affects transparency and economic performance in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies a quasi‐experimental method to 1989‐2000 time series data on benchmarking and non‐benchmarking water utilities in The Netherlands.

Findings

Benchmarking immediately enhanced transparency, but only affected utility economic performance after benchmarking information entered the public domain. This confirms that benchmarking enhances transparency and performance. The findings do not support the yardstick regulation hypothesis that utility managers will only tighten financial discipline when benchmarking is embedded in a regime of managed competition.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study is its single‐industry scope. Further testing of benchmarking effects in other public services is needed to validate its findings.

Originality/value

The paper presents evidence from the Dutch water supply industry focusing on transparency and performance in collaborative benchmarking.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Andreas Wibowo and Hans Wilhelm Alfen

The purpose of this paper is to present a yardstick efficiency comparison of 269 Indonesian municipal water utilities (MWUs) and measures the impact of exogenous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a yardstick efficiency comparison of 269 Indonesian municipal water utilities (MWUs) and measures the impact of exogenous environmental variables on efficiency scores.

Design/methodology/approach

Two-stage Stackelberg leader-follower data envelopment analysis (DEA) and artificial neural networks (ANN) were employed.

Findings

Given that serviceability was treated as the leader and profitability as the follower, the first and second stage DEA scores were 55 and 32 percent (0 percent = totally inefficient, 100 percent = perfectly efficient), respectively. This indicates sizeable opportunities for improvement, with 39 percent of the total sample facing serious problems in both first- and second-stage efficiencies. When profitability instead leads serviceability, this results in more decreased efficiency. The size of the population served was the most important exogenous environmental variable affecting DEA efficiency scores in both the first and second stages.

Research limitations/implications

The present study was limited by the overly restrictive assumption that all MWUs operate at a constant-return-to-scale.

Practical implications

These research findings will enable better management of the MWUs in question, allowing their current level of performance to be objectively compared with that of their peers, both in terms of scale and area of operation. These findings will also help the government prioritize assistance measures for MWUs that are suffering from acute performance gaps, and to devise a strategic national plan to revitalize Indonesia’s water sector.

Originality/value

This paper enriches the body of knowledge by filling in knowledge gaps relating to benchmarking in Indonesia’s water industry, as well as in the application of ensemble two-stage DEA and ANN, which are still rare in the literature.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Osama Hunaidi and Alex Wang

To introduce a new, low‐cost and easy‐to‐use leak detection system to help water utilities improve their effectiveness in locating leaks. The paper also presents an…

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1355

Abstract

Purpose

To introduce a new, low‐cost and easy‐to‐use leak detection system to help water utilities improve their effectiveness in locating leaks. The paper also presents an overview of leakage management strategies including acoustic and other leak detection techniques.

Design/methodology/approach

The design approach was based on the use personal computers as a platform and enhanced signal processing algorithms. This eliminated the need for a major component of the usual hardware of leak pinpointing correlators which reduced the system's cost; made it easy to use, and improved the effectiveness of locating leaks in all types of pipes.

Findings

Effectiveness of the new leak detection system for pinpointing leaks was demonstrated using real world examples. The system has promising potential for all water utilities, including small and medium‐sized ones and utilities in developing countries.

Practical implications

The leak detection system presented in the paper will help all water utilities, including small and medium‐sized ones and utilities in developing countries, to save water by dramatically improving their effectiveness in locating leaks in all types of pipes.

Originality/value

The paper presents information about a new effective system for locating leaks in water distribution pipes. Effective leak detection tools are needed by water utilities worldwide.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Stephen Jollands and Martin Quinn

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Irish Government mobilised accounting concepts to assist in implementing domestic water billing. While such is commonplace…

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1398

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Irish Government mobilised accounting concepts to assist in implementing domestic water billing. While such is commonplace in other jurisdictions and is generally accepted as necessary to sustain a water supply, previous attempts were unsuccessful and a political hot potato.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use an actor-network theory inspired approach. Specifically, the concepts of calculative spaces and their “otherness” to non-calculative spaces are used to analyse how accounting concepts were mobilised and the effects they had in the introduction of domestic water billing. The authors utilise publically available documents such as legislation, programmes for government, regulator publications, media reports and parliamentary records in the analysis over the period from 1983 to late 2014.

Findings

The analysis highlights how the implementation of domestic water billing involved the assembling of many divergent actors including the mobilisation of accounting concepts. Specifically the concept of “cost” became a contested entity. The government mobilised it in a conventional way to represent the resourcing of the water supply. Countering this, domestic water users associated “cost” with a direct impact on their own resources and lives. Thus, an entity usually associated with the economic realm was embroiled in political processes, with much of what they were supposed to represent becoming invisible. Thus the authors observed accounting concepts being mobilised to support the gaining of a specific political ends, the implementation of domestic billing, rather than as part of the means to implement a sustainable water supply within Ireland.

Research limitations/implications

This research has some limitations, one being the authors draw on secondary data. However, the research does provide a detailed base from which to continue to study a new water utility over time.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the complications that can occur when accounting concepts are associated with gaining of a political ends rather than as a means in the process of trying to achieve a sustainable water supply. Further, the process saw the creation of a new utility, which is a rare occurrence in the developed world, and a water utility even more so; this study demonstrates the role accounting concepts can have in this creation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Nicholas Pawsey, Jayanath Ananda and Zahirul Hoque

The purpose of this paper is to explore the sensitivity of economic efficiency rankings of water businesses to the choice of alternative physical and accounting capital…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the sensitivity of economic efficiency rankings of water businesses to the choice of alternative physical and accounting capital input measures.

Design/methodology/approach

Data envelopment analysis (DEA) was used to compute efficiency rankings for government-owned water businesses from the state of Victoria, Australia, over the period 2005/2006 through 2012/2013. Differences between DEA models when capital inputs were measured using either: statutory accounting values (historic cost and fair value), physical measures, or regulatory accounting values, were scrutinised.

Findings

Depending on the choice of capital input, significant variation in efficiency scores and the ranking of the top (worst) performing firms was observed.

Research limitations/implications

Future research may explore the generalisability of findings to a wider sample of water utilities globally. Future work can also consider the most reliable treatment of capital inputs in efficiency analysis.

Practical implications

Regulators should be cautious when using economic efficiency data in benchmarking exercises. A consistent approach to account for the capital stock is needed in the determination of price caps and designing incentives for poor performers.

Originality/value

DEA has been widely used to explore the role of ownership structure, firm size and regulation on water utility efficiency. This is the first study of its kind to explore the sensitivity of DEA to alternative physical and accounting capital input measures. This research also improves the conventional performance measurement in water utilities by using a bootstrap procedure to address the deterministic nature of the DEA approach.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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