Vienna, December 2018
In recent decades, there has been frequent discussion of the “correct” way to organise and manage municipal water supply and sanitation. This discussion has been supplemented by a number of scientific studies and various political initiatives (e.g. regarding competition and procurement law).
Around fifteen years ago, a comparison of water management systems in Europe was produced by Schönbäck et al. (2003), investigating municipal water supply and sanitation systems using a variety of criteria and indicators.
Since this study, there have been developments both with regards to further market liberalisation and privatisation as well as a rise in re-municipalising public utilities as part of public infrastructure.
The current study also presents a comprehensive comparison of six selected Europe an systems (Germany, England/Wales, France, Austria, Portugal and Hungary). Its purpose is to analyse water management systems and address the questions of whether one particular system for organising these systems should be favoured over any other in order to improve sustainability (from an environmental, economic and social standpoint) and, if so, which criteria or indicators should form the basis of such a policy.