Water and Sanitation Services

Public Policy and Management

by Jose Esteban Castro, Leo Heller

Substantially reducing the number of human beings who lack access to clean water and safe sanitation is one of the key Millennium Development Goals. This book argues and demonstrates that this can only be achieved by a better integration of the technical and social science approaches in the search for improved organization and delivery of these essential services. It presents a historical analysis of the development of water and sanitation services in both developed and developing countries, which provides valuable lessons for overcoming the obstacles facing the universalization of these services. 

Among the key lessons emerging from the historical analysis are the organizational and institutional diversity characterizing the development of water and sanitation internationally, and the central role played by the public sector, particularly local authorities, in such development. It also explores the historical role played by cooperatives and other non-profit institutions in reaching rural and peri-urban areas, as well as the emergence of new forms of organization and provision, particularly in poor countries, where aid and development agencies have been promoting the self-organization of water systems by local communities. The book provides a critical exploration of these different institutional options, including the interaction between the public and private sectors, and the irreplaceable role of public funding as a condition for success. 

The book is divided into two parts: the first reviews theoretical and conceptual issues such as the political economy of water services, financing, the interfaces between water and sanitation services and public health, and the systemic conditions that influence the provision of these services, including the diversity of organizational and institutional options characterizing the governance and management of water and sanitation services. The second section presents a number of country or regional case studies, each one chosen to highlight a particular problem, approach or strategy. These case studies are drawn from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, covering a wide range of socio-economic and political contexts. The book will be of great interest to advanced students, researchers, professionals and NGOs in many disciplines, including public policy and planning, environmental sciences, environmental sociology, history of technology, civil and environmental engineering, public health and development studies.

  • Taylor and Francis; February 2009
  • ISBN: 9781136548819
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Water and Sanitation Services
  • Author: Jose Esteban Castro (ed.); Leo Heller (ed.)
  • Imprint: Routledge

In The Press

"I am most impressed by the range and profile of the topics and contributors. There is a growing awareness that solving water and sanitation problems involves more than pipes and valves - human behaviour and institutions are important components of the package." - Sandy Cairncross, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK 

"This book will be very timely...The emphasis of the book is absolutely correct, linking the technologies to the sociocultural, political, economic and planning aspects of water and sanitation services."Duncan Mara, University of Leeds, UK 


"The book will be of great interest to advanced students, researchers, professionals, and NGOs in many disciplines, including public policy and planning, environmental science, environmental sociology, history of technology, civil and environmental engineering public health, and development studies." - Richard H. McCuen, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, USA 

"By delving into the book more deeply, the reader is provided with a rich and deep source of information, analysis and advice for all who are committed to improving access to and the quality of water and sanitation services." - David Sutherland, ATKINS, Waterlines

"Jose´ Esteban Castro and Le´o Heller’s Water and Sanitation Services: Public Policy and Management is a valuable collection of case studies and theoretical discussions that extract key principles from this complex and hotly debated field ... Packed with accessible, current and historical examples from both developing and developed countries, the book effectively achieves its objective to “provide support for policy design and planning in the interfaces between WSS [water and sanitation services] and other interlinked areas of activity such as public health and water resources management” (p. 4)."Ilana Cohen, International Journal of Water Resources Development

About The Author

Dr Jose Esteban Castro is Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University. A sociologist by training, Professor Castro has an interdisciplinary background in the Social Sciences. He has extensive research experience in the field of water and water-related services and his work has focused on the interrelations between water policies and citizenship rights, highlighting the interplay between environmental and socio-political change. Among other topics, he has studied the relation between civil rights (e.g. water rights) and social rights (e.g. water as a public good; water and public health), the intertwining between the public and private spheres in the provision of public services (water and sanitation), the interaction between the different epistemic subjects producing knowledge about water and the institutions and processes involving the social management of this resource, and issues of governance and ecological distribution conflicts. 

Among other publications he has authored Water, Power, and Citizenship. Social Struggle in the Basin of Mexico (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006). He has done work on a number of countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Portugal, and has coordinated the PRINWASS project on private sector participation in water and sanitation (www.prinwass.org). He currently coordinates the research network GOBACIT (www.gobacit.org), of which this book is one of the first outcomes. 

Dr Leo Heller is Professor of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. He has a BA in Civil Engineering, a MSc. in Sanitary Engineering and a PhD. in Epidemiology. He recently carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford focusing on the theoretical aspects of public policy and management in the water supply and sanitation sector. He has an extensive experience of research in the fields of environmental health and public policy in water and sanitation services, and has recently introduced a research programme on public policy and management in the School of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at the UFMG. He has supervised a large number of postgraduate dissertations, and coordinated several national and international research projects on these topics. 

He has also a track record of journal articles, books and book chapters, including a book on the history of water supply and sanitation services in Brazil and another on health and environmental sanitation. He is a member of the GOBACIT research network (www.gobacit.org) and coordinates the academic network POLISAN (Ethics, Politics, and Management in Water and Sanitation), which includes European and Brazilian scholars and develops interdisciplinary research, teaching, and training activities.