Monday, January 21, 2019
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Pedro Michelena

Partnership, a model for public-private consensus

President of the PPP Forum

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Pedro Michelena. President of the PPP Forum

The PPP Forum is a not-for-profit association open to all companies related to infrastructures, in different sectoral areas. In this sense, it aims to propose, create and promote efficient models of public-private collaboration tailored to each problem, with analysis and comparisons of real experiences, both nationally and internationally.

To this end, the PPP Forum organizes meetings in conjunction with the public sector, which analyze the development alternatives that can be propounded, both on specific issues, and at a more general level. In this regard, it promotes the creation of a public agency for analysis, monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Specifically, in the water sector in Spain and by way of an introduction, we can point out that the PPP Forum considers that there is a significant level of supply, both in quantity and in quality. Also the level of purification can be considered sufficient, but improvable, at least in cities of around 20,000 inhabitants. The price of water, where there are striking differences, can be considered low compared to neighbouring countries. In short, public-private collaboration is highly developed in the sector. Approximately half of the supply is provided by private companies.

All this could lead us to ask whether the system works well and, consequently, consumers are really satisfied. The answer, in our view, is that such a thing does not occur. By way of a statement, it can be said that:

? Regulatory competencies remain complex and in many cases problematic.
? Investment decisions are questionable.
? The maintenance of the facilities is lacking, even reaching the minimum level of investment in replacement (in the last eight years, the necessary investments have been paralyzed, especially in purification).
? For all practical purposes, European funds have disappeared and national entities have a high level of indebtedness.
? Financial institutions are very limited in long-term risk taking.
? The price of water does not reflect the actual costs of production, nor the scarcity of the resource

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