Water P-Notes

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These practitioner notes (P-Notes) are published by the Water Sector Board of the Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank Group. P-Notes are a synopsis of larger World Bank documents in the water sector.

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    Toward Cleaner, Cheaper Power : Streamlined Licensing of Hydroelectric Projects in Brazil
    (Washington, DC, 2009-02) World Bank
    Brazil is confronted with steadily increasing demands for electricity. The country has the ability to meet that demand by developing its considerable hydropower potential, but the regulatory process that governs the approval of new hydroelectric plants imposes unnecessary delays that push up project costs and increase uncertainty. The process, among other reasons, has created a shortage of investment in otherwise viable hydropower projects in favor of less efficient and more harmful technologies. Brazil's electricity sector serves roughly sixty million residential and commercial customers and generates revenues of US$20 billion. With demand growing at a rate of 4.4 percent annually, an additional 3,000 megawatts of generating power will be needed by 2015. The cost of the new power plants needed to provide that power is estimated at US$40 billion. Presently, five-sixths of the country's power needs are met by hydroelectric plants, though in recent years only half of the new plants receiving licenses to begin construction have been hydroelectric. The other half of the licenses have been issued for coal, diesel, and nuclear plants that provide electricity at higher unit costs than hydroelectric plants and have greater adverse effects on people and the environment. The seeming anomaly can be explained by the fact that the licensing process for thermal plants is simpler and more predictable than that for hydroelectric plants.
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    Engaging Local Private Operators in Water Supply and Sanitation Services
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Triche, Thelma ; Requeno, Sixto ; Kariuki, Mukami
    Programs to reform urban utilities and to engage the private sector have tended to focus on large cities and on transactions with large foreign private operators. This is changing, as smaller towns and cities are growing rapidly in many developing countries. Concurrently, decentralization is shifting responsibility for services from national to smaller entities that often cannot finance and manage them effectively. Paralleling this trend, new service models in which local private firms contract with local governments or community associations to provide water supply and sanitation (WSS) services have been proposed in smaller urban contexts. The author examined how these challenges are being addressed in eight World Bank projects in Cambodia, Colombia, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Uganda. In all five countries, the government has sought public-private partnerships to promote sustainability, increase access to services (particularly for the poor), and, except in Cambodia, strengthen the role of local government. All five countries have policies that encourage greater access to services by the poor, to the extent consistent with the paramount goal of financial viability. Investment subsidies, particularly those targeting the poor, have played an important role in all cases.