Excellent article pointing out what is possible for a well run water utility: sustainable financing. Superfunds are just one source. Private equity and bond markets another. The long road to sustainable financing leads through the governance hinterland requiring difficult change in the face of staunch opposition. In January 2013 I was at a workshop in Indonesia where we talked about what makes a 'sexy utility' - surely a state owned utility attracting financing from national pension funds fits that bill. This is a tribute to its management team as well as the change makers who sought to introduce accountability to what was once an enclave of public service secrecy. Countries with emerging standards of governance must recognise the long road ahead has its upsides. Accessing water for all comes at a price which needs to be funded. Establishing access on the basis of solid governance foundations pays dividends.
Australia is unique in being one of the few countries where water utilities pay money to their municipal parents, rather than vice versa. It will provide a transparency to the benefits of private sector participation which has not existed before. I suspect that over the next few months, we will see growing interest from super funds in the opportunities available. Once the model is established, we could see it transferred elsewhere. Australia is far from the only country where the public sector balance sheet has been overstretched by recent economic trends.