The privatization of water supply and wastewater systems, together with institutional restructuring of governance – through decentralization and the penetration of global firms in local and regional markets – have been promoted as solutions to increase economic efficiency and achieve universal water supply and sanitation coverage. Yet a significant share of service provision and water resources development remains the responsibility of public authorities. The chapters in this book – with case evidence from Argentina, Chile, France, the USA, and other countries – address critical questions that dominate the international agenda on public versus private utilities, service provision, regulations, and resource development.
Critics of the market-based, ecosystem services approach to biodiversity conservation worry that volatile market conditions and technological substitutes will diminish the value of ecosystem services and obviate the “economic benefits” arguments for conservation. To explore the effects of market forces and substitutes on service values, we assessed how the value of the pest-control services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) to cotton production in the southwestern U.S. has changed over time.