Case Studies

Finland

This case will study in detail the key principles and practices of public-private partnership in water services based largely on local government (municipality) owned utilities which cooperate with the private sector. Such systems have a long tradition in larger Finnish cities and townships though many of them are fairly small compared with other European countries. In any case, this is the most common management model of water services in the EU member countries. It is important to note that the public involvement includes not only the state level, but also the regional and municipal (local) levels. This option of municipality-owned utilities has several alternatives like the traditional municipal utility, an autonomous utility, a company owned by the municipality or an inter-municipal utility. In sparsely populated areas, joint water service systems are managed by private water cooperatives while funding and operation are nevertheless in most cases supported by municipalities. First, the study will look at the development and long-term changes of the public-private partnership in water services. How have these roles changed and what are the factors that explain these relative changes of roles over the years? To what extent and how are non-core operations of utilities outsourced to the private sector in terms of various services and cash flow? How and to what extent have utilities reached their autonomy? In addition, the study will find out how have the roles of the various key stakeholders changed over the years. Second, the study will analyze the practices of consumer-managed water and sanitation cooperatives in dispersed rural areas and small villages. These systems are largely private in their nature. What kind of roles have the key stakeholders of these systems, how have the roles changed over time and what kind of private involvement is there in terms of enterprises and individual customers? The third part of the study will focus on the various options of inter-municipal cooperation, which is an increasing trend in the country. What are these options and what kind of relationships have these with municipal-owned utilities and rural cooperatives. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the various options? How do the roles of various stakeholders differ in each option? How are the interests of customers and people safeguarded? Fourth, a short analysis will be made on public-private partnership is some European countries (excluding England and Wales, Greece and Portugal, which are already involved in this project). Finally, the study will discuss on potential practices and principles that could in one form or another be applied in the conditions of developing economies.


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