A task force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors

A Status Report on Public/Private Partnerships in Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems: A 261 City Survey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 1997 U.S. Conference of Mayors Status Report on Public/Private Partnerships in Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems: A 261 City Survey is intended to provide a baseline from which to monitor trends in the provision of municipal water and wastewater services. Although the results of this survey have no historical basis of comparison, the Conference of Mayors' Urban Water Council will monitor trends in respect to the use public/private partnerships and update this information periodically. Results will be made available on the Conferences' home page at http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/urbanwater.

Key Findings of the Survey include:

The private sector is involved in providing a range of water and wastewater services. 40% of cities currently have some form of private sector involvement in their water services and 39% have some form of private sector involvement in their wastewater services. Services most commonly provided by the private sector include: design and construction, meter reading, billing and collection, collection or distribution system O&M and treatment facility O&M.

Cities are considering implementing public/private partnerships to reduce costs. Of those responding to the survey that do not currently have a partnership with the private sector, 14% said they are considering forming a water partnership and 11% are considering forming a wastewater partnership. The most cited reason for considering a public/private partnership is to reduce operation and maintenance costs.

Local issues are identified as the biggest impediments to developing public/private partnerships. 57% of cities identified labor issues as the top impediment to developing and implementing public/private partnerships. Intergovernmental relations and procurement restrictions were identified by 30% and 28% of respondents, respectively.

Cities are using some regional partnerships for providing water and wastewater services. 13% of water services and 24% of wastewater services are provided through a regional agency, county or state, or by another city.

Water and wastewater facilities are funded primarily through user charges. 75% of water facilities and 80% of wastewater facilities are funded through user charges; not from general tax revenues.

Copies are available from:

Urban Water Council
1620 Eye St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

(202) 861-6784

Urban Water Home Page


Copyright 2004, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.