Special Issue "The Role of Cooperatives in the Water Sector: Governance and Performance of Community Owned Water Supplies in Europe and Beyond"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 2018

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andrea Guerrini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy
Interests: integrated water service; water resources management; water policy; sustainability; corporate governance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giulia Romano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Interests: corporate governance; utilities management and policy; water management; waste management; performance measurement
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Who should own and control public services operators is one of the most important and widely discussed questions in the public policy debate.

Today, changes in the economic, social and technological environments are likely to increase the relevance of alternative modes of management in the water industry such as non-profit and cooperative enterprises, aiming at protecting the social value of water and, at the same time, increasing the citizens’ involvement in decision-making and environmental protection.

Water cooperatives and other consumers owned water operators (such as water schemes, interessenzen, syndicate etc) have a long tradition in many European countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy and UK), particularly in rural areas.

Two characteristics cause important differences between cooperatives and traditional organizations (public or private): the desire to provide their members with a good or service in line with a particular set of values; and the fact that they are owned and controlled by the people who use their products, supplies, or services.

The cooperative model could be an alternative to involve citizens in water management, avoiding the problems that features the state owned firms, and safeguarding the interests of consumers.

However, the literature still face the need of identifying and discussing in depth current relevant experiences of community owned water supplies in different European countries and beyond, in order to identify the relevance and potential cross-border diffusion of this management model.

This Special Issue aims at discussing governance, performance, managerial, regulatory, and technological issues emerging in the community owned water supplies management model in the European water industry and beyond. It also aims at providing policy makers and managers with significant alternatives in their decision making.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Guerrini
Prof. Dr. Giulia Romano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Community owned water supplies
  • Water cooperatives
  • Water industry
  • Alternative governance modes
  • Corporate governance
  • Regulation
  • Water utility
  • Management mode

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
Relationships as a Basis for Safe Drinking Water Provision by Cooperatives in Rural Chile
Water 2022, 14(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14030353 - 25 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 718
Abstract
While access to drinking water has expanded worldwide, safely managed provision is still a challenge, and rural areas are specially underserved. To provide safe drinking water for these areas, water scholars and international organizations have advocated for community-based organizations or coproduction schemes. The [...] Read more.
While access to drinking water has expanded worldwide, safely managed provision is still a challenge, and rural areas are specially underserved. To provide safe drinking water for these areas, water scholars and international organizations have advocated for community-based organizations or coproduction schemes. The literature often mentions that institutions and people play a key role in the provision of drinking water although the specific mechanisms through which they may affect the process of maintaining good quality water have not been reported yet. The article aims to fill this gap by providing a complex, local view on this process. In Chile, from 1960 onwards, the State has implemented cooperatives to provide for drinking water in rural and small-town areas under a coproduction scheme. In this scheme, the State provides the infrastructure, and the community is responsible for service provision. We analysed the water quality of six of these cooperatives and conducted interviews with water managers and leaders. Our research suggests that formal and informal relationships provide the links and motivation needed for the organizations continuous work. These results highlight how relevant it is to keep in mind the context and the public role of delivering safe drinking water. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Alliance of Community-Owned Water Services in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges Based on the Irish Perspective
Water 2021, 13(22), 3181; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223181 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 728
Abstract
The foundation of the Alliance of Community-Owned Water Services in Europe (ACOWAS-EU), established during the consultation period for the 2020 recast of the European Drinking Water Directive, has shone a new light on community-owned drinking water supplies (CoDWS). CoDWS are drinking water supplies [...] Read more.
The foundation of the Alliance of Community-Owned Water Services in Europe (ACOWAS-EU), established during the consultation period for the 2020 recast of the European Drinking Water Directive, has shone a new light on community-owned drinking water supplies (CoDWS). CoDWS are drinking water supplies that are administered, managed, and owned by the local community membership that each supply serves. This paper reviews the presence of CoDWS within the five founding regions of ACOWAS-EU—Austria, Denmark, Finland, Galicia in Spain, and Ireland—and the co-operative model structure that underpins the sector. Although the co-operative structure for CoDWS has been prominent since the mid-20th century (and sometimes even earlier), there is a dearth of research into the sector’s importance and existence in an international context. Through a detailed case study, the Irish CoDWS sector (known in Ireland as the group water scheme sector) is analysed in depth, in terms of both its evolution and the opportunities and challenges it faces today. Areas, such as water quality, biodiversity, education, and community-involvement are discussed in particular, providing key learnings that may also be of benefit to the other CoDWS sectors within ACOWAS-EU and further afield. Full article
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