van den Berg, Caroline
Global Practice on Water
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Water economics, Public finance, Monitoring and evaluation
Global Practice on Water
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Caroline van den Berg is working as a Lead Water Economist in the World Bank’s Global Water Practice, focusing mostly on the economics of water supply, wastewater, sanitation and irrigation water services. She has extensive experience in the preparation and implementation of investment and development policy operations, and in applied research projects – with a work experience that extends over more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. She works on cost-benefit analysis, financial analysis, monitoring and evaluation, benchmarking of utilities, regulation and pricing, energy efficiency in water projects and public finance mostly in relation to the water sector. She has published regularly in academic journals. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a research economist, financial analyst and project economist in the private sector. She earned her M.A. in macroeconomics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in spatial sciences from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands).
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) van den Berg, Caroline ; Pattanayak, Subhrendu ; Yang, Jui-Chen ; Gunatilake, HerathMany countries are weighing urgent reforms to bring safe water supply and sanitation (WSS) services to hundreds of millions of poor city dwellers. Past reforms, unfortunately, have often ignored consumer preferences and perceptions, resulting in overly optimistic projections of the revenue potential of reform projects. When revenues fall short, private partners may seek to renegotiate their contract, resulting in tariff increases and other changes that increase project costs across the board. Such situations can undermine political commitment to reforms in general and to Private Sector Participation (PSP) in particular. Understanding consumers can help avoid such situations. Different groups of consumers have distinct preferences and perceptions that may influence their decisions about new water systems. Unfortunately, studies of consumers' water-related preferences are often deferred because collecting data takes time and costs money. Often there is pressure to complete reforms quickly sometimes to take advantage of a political opportunity so the necessary research is not done. In other cases, the challenge of increasing efficiency and improving governance may seem so daunting that the specific interventions required to make reform beneficial to the poor may be overlooked or consciously deferred.
Publication(World Bank, 2011) van den Berg, Caroline ; Danilenko, AlexanderThe International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities (IBNET) blue book creates a baseline and, at the same time, offers a global vision of the state of the sector in developing countries. By tracking progress in and quantifying and assessing the water supply and sanitation sectors, IBNET helps meet the goal of providing safe, sustainable, and affordable water and sanitation for all. This report serves three purposes. First, it aims to raise awareness of how IBNET can help utilities identify ways to improve urban water and wastewater services. Second, it provides an introduction to benchmarking and to IBNET's objectives, scope, focus, and some recent achievements. Third, it elaborates the methodology and data behind IBNET and presents an overview of IBNET results and country data. By providing comparative information on utilities' costs and performance, IBNET and this study can be used by a wide range of stakeholders, including: 1) utilities: to identify areas of improvement and set realistic targets; 2) governments: to monitor and adjust sector policies and programs; 3) regulators: to ensure that adequate incentives are provided for improved utility performance and that consumers obtain value services; 4) consumers and civil society: to express valid concerns; 5) international agencies and advisers: to perform an evaluation of utilities for lending purposes; and 6) private investors: to identify opportunities and viable markets for investments.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Manghee, Seema ; van den Berg, CarolineThe objective of this guidance note: public expenditure review from the perspective of the water supply and sanitation sector is to provide World Bank staff with a body of knowledge and good practice guidelines to help them evaluate the allocation of public resources to water and sanitation services in a consistent manner and to increase their knowledge of public expenditure issues in the sector. This guidance note discusses the challenges that are specific to public expenditure management in water and sanitation and the difficulties often involved in identifying sector expenditures. The challenges particular to this sector stem from three factors. First, countries define water and sanitation differently (e.g., drainage may or may not be included, rural services may be considered separately). Second, responsibilities for water and sanitation policy are often divided horizontally across government ministries and agencies, vertically between national and local governments and functionally among the public, private, and non-governmental sectors. Third, the roles of these multiple actors may be unclear or overlapping.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11) Rodriguez, Diego J. ; van den Berg, Caroline ; McMahon, AmandaThis paper provides background information for development practitioners in the water and other infrastructure sectors. It outlines the major challenges related to financing the gap in global water infrastructure, including those systems that provide urban and rural water supply, and sanitation and irrigation services. Water infrastructure finance includes costs for capital works as well as the operations and maintenance costs that motivate sustainable service delivery. Section one introduces the linkages between water infrastructure and growing global challenges, including food and energy security as well as climate change. Section two describes investment needs in the sector and details various traditional funding sources. Section three proposes a five step reform cycle for making better use of limited funding in the sector. Tools for making these improvements are outlined in section four. The paper concludes with section five, a summary of the challenges and recommendations for the way forward.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-01) Yang, Jui-Chen ; Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. ; Jonson, F. Reed ; Mansfield, Carol ; van den Berg, Caroline ; Jones, KellyIn the early 2000s, the Government of Sri Lanka considered engaging private sector operators to manage water and sewerage services in two separate service areas: one in the town of Negombo (north of Colombo), and one stretching along the coastal strip (south from Colombo) from the towns of Kalutara to Galle. Since then, the government has abandoned the idea of setting up a public-private partnership in these two areas. This paper is part of a series of investigations to determine how these pilot private sector transactions (forming part of the overall water sector reform strategy) could be designed in such a manner that they would benefit the poor. The authors describe the results of a conjoint survey evaluating the factors that drive customer demand for alternative water supply and sanitation services in Sri Lanka. They show how conjoint surveys can be used to unpackage household demand for attributes of urban services and improve the design of infrastructure policies. They present conjoint surveys as a tool for field experiments and a source of valuable empirical data. In the study of three coastal towns in southwestern Sri Lanka the conjoint survey allows the authors to compare household preferences for four water supply attributes-price, quantity, safety, and reliability. They examine subpopulations of different income levels to determine if demand is heterogeneous. The case study suggests that households care about service quality (not just price). In general, the authors find that households have diverse preferences in terms of quantity, safety, and service options, but not with regard to hours of supply. In particular, they find that the poor have lower ability to trade off income for services, a finding that has significant equity implications in terms of allocating scarce public services and achieving universal water access.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-08) van den Berg, CarolineTo many, reducing water losses is seen as key to more sustainable water management. The arguments to reduce water losses are compelling, but reducing water losses has turned out to be challenging. This paper applies a panel data analysis with fixed effects to determine the major drivers of non-revenue water, which is define as the volume of water losses per kilometer of network per day. The analysis uses data from the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities, covering utilities in 68 countries between 2006 and 2011. The analysis finds that non-revenue water is driven by many factors. Some of the most important drivers are beyond the control of the utility, such as population density per kilometer of network, the type of distribution network, and the length of the network, which are largely the result of urbanization and settlement patterns in the localities that the utility serves. The opportunity costs of water losses are also key in explaining what drives non-revenue water. The paper finds that very low opportunity costs of water losses have an adverse effect on the reduction of non-revenue water. Country fixed effects turn out to be important, meaning that the environment in which the utility operates has an important impact on non-revenue water levels. An important conclusion is that the design of non-revenue water reduction programs should study the main drivers of non-revenue water to provide utility managers with a better understanding of what can be achieved in terms of non-revenue water reduction and whether the benefits of these reductions exceed their costs.