revised water supply act came into effect last October: it prescribes ‘a
concession method’ that allows municipalities, keeping the right of possession
of water infrastructure as it is, to sell out the right of management to a
private company. Miyagi
Prefecture has engaged in
privatizing facilities, which is one of first trials. Privatization of water
supply system in Japan
is defiance at the world trend.
TREND IS RETURNING TO PUBLIC OWNERSHIP
are responsible for clean drinking water supply, except for big cities. The
service was provided publicly up to 50% around the year 1960, 90% in the decade
of 1980, and now, the ratio is almost 100%.
the other hand, however, except for metropolitan cities, management bases are
weak and the number of personnel stationed in charge counts three per 10
thousand residents on the average in most of the municipalities. In the 1970s
infrastructure of water supply was intensely developed, and expected lifetime
has come in terms of tubes. Many local governments face difficulties in
financial allocation to renew facilities as well as succession of technical
assets to new generations.
these circumstances debates had started to overcome privation and enhance running
basis. Amendment of the water act was pursued to seek for broader links of municipalities.
Nevertheless, the Diet’s extraordinary session approved two years ago to revise
the law to allow collaborative management of the public and private sectors. This
is the so-called concession method under which the right of management can be transferred
to a business entity.
first to act along the decision was the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture Murai
Yoshihiro, a self-claimed promoter of the government’s policy ‘to develop state’s
affairs by efforts of local communities’. The prefectural assembly approved to
revise the code in favor of the majority, which will take effect in April,
Murai told that a sum approximately 24.7 billion Yen, which is equivalent to 7%
of all expenditure necessary for coming 20 Years, could be saved through more
efficient management and that a pace of rising water rate could be driven down.
Shizuoka Prefecture, sewage water service is
provided by a special-purpose company, under which Japanese enterprises cooperate
with a French transnational company, Veolia Environnement S.A. The service
started in April, 2019. The city authority was intended to supply drinking water,
too, in this method, but inhabitants oppose the plan. It is suspended.
and Iwate Prefecture
in the northeastern region of the Honshu
Island, have a plan to work
together with neighboring prefectures to tackle with the expiring life of water
in the world returning to public ownership of water services is a growing trend.
Two of the three water major firms, which cover 80% of the world’s water resources
management, are headquartered in Paris, namely Veolia and GDF Suez. But in the France’s
capital city water services came back to public ownership in 2010.
right of ownership of water infrastructure is public, belonging to
municipalities which are responsible for investments in facilities. An
operational wing is entrusted to a private firm, but a municipality is
responsible for the unpleasant incident, if it happens.
behaviors deteriorate job quality
the private sector is in charge of management and operation of water services for
decades, public authorities totally lose operational capabilities. Consequently,
management becomes opaque, which leads to embezzlement of public funds and a
raise in service rate.
to reports, a drive to public ownership goes in the UK
and Germany (Berlin) as well as in
other 235 cities of 37 countries carried out in the past 15 years. Why did they
back again to public possession? Consequences of privatization of water utilities
are worsened services and water quality as it seeks for the biggest possible
movements of workers and citizens are essential here.