van den Berg, Caroline

Global Practice on Water
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Fields of Specialization
Water economics, Public finance, Monitoring and evaluation
Global Practice on Water
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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 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Understanding Demand When Reforming Water Supply and Sanitation : A Case Study from Sri Lanka
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) van den Berg, Caroline; Yang, Jui-Chen; Gunatilake, Herath
    Many 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
    Investing in Water Infrastructure : Capital, Operations and Maintenance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11) Rodriguez, Diego J.; van den Berg, Caroline; McMahon, Amanda
    This 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
    Water Privatization and Regulation in England and Wales
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1997-05) van den Berg, Caroline
    In 1989, the United Kingdom embarked on one of the first modern privatizations in the water sector, selling assets under license and setting up an independent economic regulator. An important regulatory innovation is its use of price caps and yardstick competition. The author highlights two lessons from U.K. regulatory experience: effective price cap regulation has heavy information requirements, and the necessary data and analytical tools take time to assemble. And such built-in checks and balances as financial autonomy for the regulator and status as an independent government department are not always enough to prevent political interference.
  • Publication
    The IBNET Water Supply and Sanitation Performance Blue Book
    (World Bank, 2011) van den Berg, Caroline; Danilenko, Alexander
    The 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.