Status of the privatization of essential water and sanitation services in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula (2020-2022)

ESPRISAS is a project of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network’s Thematic Area 3, Urban Water Cycle and Essential Public Services. It is part of the activities carried out as part of the Cooperation Agreement on matters of common interest with the Public Services International (PSI).


The systematic study of processes of “privatization” of water and essential water and sanitation services has been one of the activities that gave origin to the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network and continues to be a key component of its aims, objectives, and research priorities. Among these activities we can mention the PRINWASS Project, which examined cases of “privatization” of water and sanitation companies in nine countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico. This and other projects produced an importante range of publications, dissemination activities, and other contributions, particularly in the context of our Thematic Area 3, Urban Water Cycle and Essential Public Services. ESPRISAS builds on this long-term engagement of the WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network with the critical study, teaching, and practical interventions with the purpose of exposing the fallacies associated with the politics that promote the privatization and commodification of water and essential services, as well as their serious impacts for human populations and the environment. It is part of our commitment with the defence and advance of the processes of substantive democratization of water Politics and management.

Project Objectives

General Objective

Updating the state of the politics of privatization of essential water and sanitation services in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

Specific Objectives

  • Making observable the diverse forms of “privatization” implemented in essential water and sanitation services.
  • Identifying the public-policy, institutional, and legal-administrative reforms introduced to support privatization of these services.
  • Examining the economic and financial characteristics of privatization in selected cases.
  • Analyzing the socio-political aspects of the privatization of these services.

Research Team


Jose Esteban Castro, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS), Buenos Aires, Argentina and Newcastle University, UK, and Oscar Rodriguez Leon, Subregional Secretary, Public Services International (PSI), San Jose, Costa Rica.

Members (in alphabetical order)

Luis Babbo, Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A. (AySA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Carlos Alexandre Leão Bordalo, Federal University of Para (UFPA), Para, Brazil.
Julia Borges, State University of Nothern Rio de Janeiro Darcy Ribeiro (UENF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ulises Joaquín Deon, National University of Cordoba (UNC), Cordoba, Argentina.
Jorge Fael, Independent Researcher, Lisbon, Portugal.
Jose Armando Flores Alemán, Foundation for Studies on the Application of Law (FESPAD), El Salvador.
Ariel Monzon, Confederation of Water, Sanitation and Environment Workers of the Americas (CONTAGUAS), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Alberto de Oliveira, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Hugo Julian Perez Barriga, Higher University of San Simon, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Miguel Angel Polino, National Human Rights Council (CNDH), Bahia, Brazil.
Mariela Veronica Rocca , University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Hermelinda Rocha, DESDEMO Project, Pernambuco, Brazil.
Renata Rossi, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Bahia, Brazil.
Damiano Tagliavini, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Elida Villalba Vargas, University of St Gallen, Zurich, Switzerland.

For additional information about ESPRISAS, contact Project Co-ordination.