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The World bank’s experience with urban water sector reform : an institutional analysis Bronsro, Allan


The urban water supply sector in the developing world is in crisis, partly because of failure to treat water as the scarce resource that it is. Reforming public water supply utilities has proved difficult, despite a focus by the World Bank on institutional reform and governance. This paper analyzes the Bank's experience with, and evolving approach to, urban water sector reform. It shows that a more comprehensive understanding of the bureaucratic aspects of institutional reform can help public water supply institutions to adopt more sustainable practices in cities that currently do not provide universally available, safe, and affordable water. The paper summarizes the theoretical approaches to institutional development, and sets out a practical framework for policy and project analysis and design. Using the World Bank's experience with urban development in Nairobi as a case example, it clearly shows why one city department succeeded, and another failed, to meet project objectives.

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