Since 1999, Jordan has experimented with various forms of privatization and corporatization reforms in Amman's municipal water services and the national water sector. The goal of these reforms, it is argued, is to improve water management conditions in light of its stark lack of domestic water and energy resources and ongoing political and economic impacts of regional wars and conflicts. The reforms, however, experienced numerous setbacks. This dissertation seeks to understand why the privatization process has struggled and the effects it has generated. Privatization reforms come after nearly fifty years of World Bank and USAID sponsored water sector development projects in Amman specifically, and Jordan more generally. These projects were part and parcel of Jordan's state building processes and modernization of municipal and national water services. The overall claim in this dissertation is that these state building and modernization processes created institutional and political constraints, which have become endemic to, and evolved with, water sector operations and reforms. Four sub-claims are offered. First, advocates of privatization and corporatization depict water sector crises through economic and engineering frameworks, which neglect considerations of political and institutional dynamics. Second, contemporary water crises are strongly influenced by the history of water sector development and state building processes, on the one hand, and the imbricated evolution of municipal and national water policies and institutions on the other. These processes resulted in political and institutional constraints that have become part and parcel of the water sector's operational dynamics and continued transformation. Third, corporatization reforms have been shaped by these institutional and political contexts, while also introducing new constraints that further change the dynamics of the water sector. Last, reform programs and the design of municipal water services shape household experiences, while their opinion of reform processes remains critical for understanding the likelihood of more contentious reform programs.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2015. Major: Geography. Advisor: Abdi Samatar. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 236 pages.
Crisis in Jordan's Water Sector? Understanding the Dynamics of Institutional and Political Constraints in Water Management and Corporatization Reforms.
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