Problems of agency and technological issues in the municipalisation of water supply systems: Portugal (1850-1930)
Silva, Alvaro Ferreira da
Water-supply -- Management Water-supply -- Portugal Water-supply -- Government policy -- Portugal Ύδρευση -- Διοίκηση και οργάνωση Ύδρευση -- Πορτογαλία Ύδρευση -- Κυβερνητική πολιτική -- Πορτογαλία
This paper starts with an overview of modern water supply systems in Portugal at the beginning of the twentieth century, trying to identify their diffusion over urban network, their performance as water providers and the institutional form governing its management. The second half of the nineteenth century was the period when modern water supply systems became either mature, either integrated with sewer systems. The superiority of private management to deal with water supply was taken for granted for most of the nineteenth century. However, problems related with private companies performance started to present public management as a possible alternative. For the period here considered public and private options were available, not only as theoretical possibilities, but also as practical options.In a second instance, the regulatory framework of private enterprises is addressed. The main changes in regulation framework are presented, as well as the importance of foreign entrepreneurs in the introduction of contractual conditions usually set in other countries for water supply contracts.However, it was difficult to design contracts to regulate concessions of water supply systems, due to the long-term relationship involved and to all the complexities associated with this specific industry. Conflicts between regulator and private concessionaires were recurrent, raising the possibility of municipalisation. The last part of the paper explains why public take over of waterworks became so attractive in late nineteenth century.
Bibliography: p. 31-35
Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Urban History: European City in Comparative Perspective, Panteion University, Athens - Piraeus, Greece, 27-30 October 2004, Session: Public Utilities, Local Resources and Policies