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Queen's University
 


Iffat Yesmin Mannan '08


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Thesis Title:
Water Privatization in Third World Cities- Case of DWASA (Water and Sewerage Authority, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Research Topic:
In September 2000 the leaders of the industrialized world committed themselves to reducing global poverty by 2015, agreeing to work towards achieving eight Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction, gender equality, maternal health, the environment, and other themes. Multilateral development banks such as the World Bank have long been providing loans at discounted interest rates for supporting these projects but have been based largely on neoliberal thinking that markets and private sector initiatives are the most efficient mechanisms for achieving economic growth, producing goods, and providing services. In the water sector, this has meant an emphasis on privatization.
The most common form of privatization today is the transfer the operational and managerial functions of the service to private companies. There is transfer of crucial decision making responsibilities from the public to the private sector and also transfer of ownership of assets, regulations and control over information. Apart from large multinationals small enterprises nowadays are thriving in several forms of municipal service provision on various short and long term contracts, lease and license. Water privatization must be seen as a continuum of public and private mixes, with varying degrees of involvement and exposure to risks by the two sectors. Not surprisingly, water privatization remains highly controversial, and in the Asia region is resulting in an erosion of people's access to adequate supplies of this essential service, especially for households who lack the capacity to pay. An ideology of profitability is leading to deterioration of services and an outbreak of water born diseases, while consumers are held hostage to long-term contracts signed by municipalities. On the other hand, proponents of privatization are emphasizing the cost effective supply of municipal services and private sector led growth of the economy.

The purpose of my study is to investigate the ownership and management of water services in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Pricing of these services and private sector investment will be the focus of the study. DWASA (Water and Sewerage Authority, Dhaka) is responsible for water supply and sewerage network in Dhaka. It is a semi-autonomous organization under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Following preconditions set by the World Bank, private management is taking over DWASA in an effort to create a 'service oriented' commercial organization. Water and sewer rates are collected from consumer households and establishments and by small private enterprises. Importantly, there has not been any critical academic research done to measure issues such as investment patterns, the nature of contracts, pricing, affordability and quality of the service provided by these new corporate arrangements. The Purpose of my study is to investigate these issues and look at the impact of such provisions on the public sphere.
 
Update:
 
I have some news to share with you. I got married to Istehad Chowdhury, also a Queen's graduate from the department Electrical and Computer Engineering on February 26th 2010.

I am now living in Ottawa with my husband who is working as Software Development Engineer at Iredeto, Kanata Ottawa. We moved to Ottawa this past August, and I am trying to find a job related to academic background in here.



 

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