Book Review: Julien Chaisse (Ed.), The Regulation of the Global Water Services Market

Published date01 November 2019
Date01 November 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 425
Julien Chaisse (Ed.), The Regulation of the Global Water Services Market,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, USD 125, 425 pp.,
ISBN 9781107162860.
DOI: 10.1177/0015732519874241
Water is undeniably crucial for humans. The current average annual growth in
world population is 83 million. Between 1959 and 1999, the world’s population
doubled (from 3 billion to 6 billion). According to the USA Census Bureau (2018),
the number of people on earth is approaching 7.5 billion and this number is
expected to reach 9 billion by 2037, an increase which puts an immense pressure
on sustainability governance and related issues. States place quality fresh water at
the centre of their vital interests; it is a resource with a multifaceted nature (p. 3):
a commodity, a public good, a human right and a common heritage of mankind.
This is precisely why scholars should research and publish quality literature on
water-related issues. This book meets these requirements because it covers com-
prehensively different but intertwined aspects of water regulation, exploring par-
ticipant roles of all relevant stakeholders: state, private sector, multinational
corporations, international organizations and the international community.
The rationale of this book is fourfold. First, it treats water as an exhaustible
resource (pp. 214, 219 and 297) and covers all aspects of the water cycle: from cap-
ture (rivers, aquifers and desalination) to supply (humans, industry [such as energy
production] and agriculture) to sustainability of ecosystems (such as fisheries) and
waste treatment. Second, the book addresses the dilemmas arising from water use—
should water be taken as a commodity and should ensuing problems be attributed to
market failure? or should water be considered a public good and consequently be
discussed in terms of obligatory public service? Using this line of reasoning, the book
discusses water within the particularities of a global commons, recommending the
adoption of the commons management fund (CMF) deposit scheme (ex ante signal-
ling; p. 252). Third, it presents a wide perspective on water-related technicalities
which include technology and intellectual property rights, subsidies, international
investment regimes concerning water, conflicts and suggestions for alternative dis-
pute resolution, concessions, transfer of technology and governmental aid, multina-
tional enterprises, public–private partnerships, international instruments governing
the use of water and national legal solutions. Finally, the book adopts a regional
perspective covering the European Union, ASEAN and Central Asia.
The book comprises 15 chapters and is divided into three main parts: (a) mat-
ters related to water investment, (b) water management models and approaches
and (c) regional patterns of water services. The chapters discuss international
legal instruments and jurisprudence and they provide detailed explanations for the
different contexts, all of which are of immense benefit to the reader. The
Introduction assesses the essential contribution of each chapter and clearly estab-
lishes the aim of the book which is to shed light on regulation as an instrument of
public policy (p. 6). The book offers a final conclusion (p. 359) summarizing the
interdisciplinary challenges of water regulatory issues, the importance of effec-
tive regulation, the shortcomings of water privatization, water as a strategic asset
and the need for special legal regimes for water.

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