Water Operators’ Partnerships are increasingly recognized as instruments to strengthen the operational capacities of water utilities and to foster knowledge exchange between utilities with the ultimate aim of expanding and improving the provision of water services to consumers. Recent programmes like the EU-WOP Programme, sustainable utility partnerships developed by the German Water Partnership, or the WaterWorX Programme are illustrative of this growing recognition of WOPs. Contributing to the achievement of SDG target 6.1 figures prominently in these programmes.
At the same time, much of the literature on WOPs is either written in the context of the public versus private debate (where WOPs are presented as an alternative to PPPs) or has a strong case study focus that simply describes a particular WOP case study. What is missing is a more critical yet constructive analysis focused on understanding different dimensions and phenomena of WOPs and how such partnerships work in practice. Such a more critical perspective is necessary in order to further the discussion on WOPs as an instrument for improving service provision and, ultimately, to contribute to making such partnerships more effective.
During this session series the following papers submitted to the special issue will be presented and discussed: