Investment policy

Private sector participation in the water and sanitation sector


Engaging the private sector in water infrastructure investment

Adopted in 2009, Private Sector Participation in Water Infrastructure is practical guidance for governments wishing to engage the private sector in water infrastructure. Presented in the form of a OECD Checklist for Public Action, the guidance provides a coherent set of policy directions addressing the allocation of roles, risks and responsibilities, and the framework conditions for optimising private sector participation.


The Checklist has be used to conduct assessments of framework conditions for private sector participation in water infrastructure in Egypt, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia and Tunisia:

  • Mexico: Assessment of Mexico, June 2012, developed in partnership with CONAGUA. This assessment also contributes to a broader OECD / CONAGUA partnership in support to the implementation of the 2030 Water Agenda.


Overview of the Guidance

Worldwide, over a billion people lack access to drinking water and 2.6 billion to basic sanitation. Developing and managing water and sanitation infrastructure constitutes an urgent and major challenge. Just halving the proportion of people without access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015 would require investments of some USD 72 billion per year.


To meet these tremendous needs, many countries seek out the private sector to modernise and expand their water and sanitation infrastructure and/or to improve the efficiency of water systems. To make the most of private sector participation, an effective regulatory framework should be in place and key principles of good partnerships should be followed.

The OECD's practical guidance for governments wishing to engage the private sector in water infrastructure builds on existing OECD instruments:

The guidance was developed through multi-stakeholder dialogues, reviews of specific country experiences and regional consultations:

This project constitutes one element of a major OECD-wide programme on water policies for affordable services and sustainable resource management.


Brochure on the checklist for public action 
(pdf, 499KB)

>> the checklist in French

>> the checklist Russian


Water: Balancing demand

By 2050, the world's growing population will use 55% more water. We will need to stop wasting and find new ways to make sure there's enough water for everyone.

For more information visit:


Documents and links


Related Documents