Informations and abstract
Keywords: public utilities, water industry, costbenefit analysis, L90; L95; Q01; Q25; Q50; Q51; Q53.
This works aims to evaluate the fallouts of an efficient water management on every stakeholders through the analysis of a sample of best practices. The methodology links two different approaches, a business vs. a systemic one, in order to weigh up some key parameters, by estimating the benefits of the best practices both on the community and on single companies. The comparison between the selected water companies of the sample, those of Northern Italy, and those of the whole country, shows, despite the limits of the cost-benefit analysis, how the community could obtain huge benefits, financial, environmental and social ones, both tangible and intangible, from a better management practices. Over a six year period, the net benefits have been estimated in 5.6 billion of Euros for the Northern area, and in 19.3 for Italy. Despite the different features of the Italian water industries (sizes, geographical perimeter and operations), the study gives evidence of a set of parameters that reflect their historical critical issues: lacking infrastructures, low efficiency in water purification, high leakages, inadequate rates of return, low water quality or even the absence of purification. It shows how a potential improvement of the Northern and Italian companies might involve positive impacts for the stakeholders: companies, consumers and the environment. Some possible policies come out, already known, but this time supported by a quantification of their potential impacts. The institution of an independent national authority with operative power is the straight way to really assure: the transparency of information, the definition of objectives and standards of water quality, the development of sustainable plans of investment, the protection of the citizens-consumers and, finally, an industrial policy design.