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TitleLinkages between municipalities and utilities : an experience in overcoming urban poverty
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsAlfaro, R
Secondary TitleUrban environmental sanitation working papers / UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program
Pagination10 p.
Date Published1997-11-01
PublisherWorld Bank
Place PublishedWashington, DC, USA
Keywordsability to pay, access to water, chile santiago, decentralization, low-income communities, private sector, sdicap, sdilac, sdiman, tariffs, water authorities

This paper explores the responsibilities of the utility companies and those of local governments in extending services to the poor. The author cites the reasons frequently given to explain why the poor are unserved, that poor countries lack capital to invest in needed water and sanitation infrastructure, the poor themselves live in circumstances which increase costs beyond their already limited capacity to pay tariffs. It is argued that a utility company, with its right to use resources which are public goods, also has an obligation to meet the needs of all its citizens. It should also seek to maximize its clientele as a matter of good business. When families cannot meet the costs of services, it is the responsibility of local government, not the utility, to make up the difference.

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