Transparency International (TI) released their annual round up of corruption news and research today, the Global Corruption Report 2008, which includes a special focus on corruption in the water sector.
The assessment explores how corruption prevails in different forms in the water sector, from bribery in water delivery to bid-rigging in irrigation and hydropower projects. Adverse consequences of corruption in this sector lead to high prices and low supply of water – a burden that falls disproportionately onto the poor. Low income households in Jakarta, Lima, Nairobi or Manila in fact spend more on water than residents of New York City, London or Rome. Corruption in the water sector is also a phenomenon that is not specific to developing countries: cities in Italy, Sweden and USA also suffer from tainted tendering of water contracts.
The report ends with key recommendations to tackle such problems. Suggestions include transparency in the budgeting process, public audits of projects, strengthening regulatory oversight and ensuring fair competition and accountable implementation of water projects.
Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International, writes:
“Water is a resource without substitute. It is paramount to our health, our food security, our energy future and our ecosystem. But corruption plagues water management and use in all these areas.”
— by Afroza Chowdhury —