Journal article Open Access

Providing Water in Wales: is there a Third Way? The Welsh experience with public and private utilities and the emergence of the not-for-profit mode

Drakeford, Mark

WATERLAT-GOBACIT Working Papers (ISSN 2056-4864 - online) Vol. 4 No 2., pp. 7-26 (

The article examines key aspects of the debate about the pros and cons of privatization of essential water and sanitation services in Wales, in historical perspective. It focuses particularly on the impacts of the privatization of the Welsh Water Authority by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1989, and the partial de-privatization of the utility in the year 2000. The paper offers an acute analysis of the negative effects of privatization, particularly on the poorer sectors of the population. It also provides important lessons about the contradictions facing democratic politics seeking the implementation of policies oriented at “delivering publicly-desirable goals such as social inclusion, community safety and well-being” in a political context dominated by the promotion of “a market-system based upon profit-driven companies” to provide water and sanitation services.

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