School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Queen's Contagion Cultures Lecture Series

Tuesday January 26, 2021

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Public Water and Covid-19: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

David McDonald, Professor Global Development Studies, Queen’s University; Director, Municipal Services Project

COVID-19 has once again demonstrated the significance of safe, accessible and affordable water for all. It has also highlighted enormous disparities in service provision while at the same time dealing a blow to public water and sanitation operators around the world due to massive drops in revenues, rapidly rising costs and a vulnerable workforce. This talk summarizes a book he has recently co-edited, providing the first global overview of the response of public water operators to this crisis, shining a light on the complex challenges they face and how they have responded in different contexts. It looks specifically at ‘public’ water and asks how public ownership and public management have enabled (or not) equitable and democratic emergency services, and how these COVID-19 experiences could contribute to expanded and sustainable forms of public water services in the future.