The establishment of dedicated regulatory bodies in charge of regulating water services,
whilst being recent, is nevertheless a consistent trend among OECD and non-OECD countries.
This report presents a picture as of September 2014 of the governance arrangements,
operational modalities and use of regulatory tools across a sample of 34 established
water regulators. It relies on the OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy:
The Governance of Regulators to structure the information collected through a survey
exercise. It has been developed in close co-operation with the OECD Network of Economic
The results from the survey show that the 34 water regulators show generally a high
level of adoption of good governance principles and practices. They display functions
and powers that are in line with their objectives. Water regulators also show a strong
culture of consultation. Other areas, in particular evaluation of regulatory impacts,
could be further strengthened.
The OECD has worked with 34 water regulators to identify dedicated bodies set up to regulate the provision of urban drinking water and wastewater services.
The key highlights of the report show that:
More and more countries establish dedicated bodies to regulate water services
Where they exist, these water regulators are the critical link in the implementation of regulation. They are also a vector of transparency through the information on service performance that they collect and make available to all
The 34 water regulators have generally adopted many of the good governance principles and practices identified in the OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulators Policy: The Governance of Regulators. In particular, water regulators generally display legitimacy, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and accountability grounded in legislative instruments when it comes to their institutional settings
Their financial autonomy, the professionalism of their staff, the clarity of their mandate and the delineation of their responsibilities determine their integrity and the success of their mission
But the potential of regulators to make regulation more relevant, effective, and less costly is not exploited. Governments could better harness their culture of consultation with regulated and users to improve urban water regulation
The Governance of Water Regulators was launched at the 7th World Water Forum in Seoul, Korea on 13 April 2015 together with:
Water and Cities: Ensuring Sustainable Futures. This report provides guidance on how governments can ensure the financial sustainability of urban water systems, improve governance and regulatory frameworks to better implement water policies at different territorial scales, reduce barriers to the use of innovative techniques and approaches, and better link urban and rural water policies.
Stakeholder Engagement for Inclusive Water Governance. This report assesses the current trends, drivers, obstacles, mechanisms, impacts, costs and benefits of stakeholder engagement in the water sector. It provides pragmatic policy guidance to decision makers and practitioners in the form of key principles and a Checklist for Public Action with indicators, international references and self-assessment questions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please contact in the Regulatory Policy Division, Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development: