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January 2010

Developed for WBI’s Program on Improving Governance in the Water Sector through Social Accountability and produced by WBI’s Governance Practice.

Advocacy by the Office of the Ombudsman:


Enabling Water Reforms Based on Citizens’
Feedback in Peru

T his case examines how the Defensoría del


Pueblo (National Ombudsman) in Peru
amplified the voice of the community by estab-
Box 1. Good Practices Checklist

Effective advocacy for water reforms includes:


lishing mechanisms for receiving and responding
• Establishing mechanisms that empower users to
to citizens’ complaints about water delivery. The
identify problems related to service delivery, water
new system allowed the Ombudsman to use
quality, and other key issues.
input from the public to improve national public
• Facilitating dialogue among main stakeholders.
policy and regulations, and in so doing, helped
• Disseminating information to the general public and
to bridge the disparate interests of service users,
elected officials about the costs of water sector infra-
water suppliers, and the national regulator.
structure and service delivery.
This type of public inclusion also raised
• Depoliticizing water reforms and mitigating the effects
awareness of important aspects of service
of unpopular rate increases by improving service
delivery. Specifically, the Office of the
delivery.
Ombudsman helped water users understand
• Building the capacity of policy and regulatory
that although the public has the right to access
reformers.
safe and clean potable water, it must also pay
the costs of service delivery. In the process,
the Ombudsman had to correct the common also for overseeing billing and collections, levying
assumption that water is a free and infinite penalties for nonpayment, and connecting and
resource by increasing public awareness of disconnecting users. Despite widespread need
the expenses associated with building and for infrastructural improvements and increased
maintaining the infrastructure necessary for coverage throughout the water sector, water
water delivery. officials were often reluctant to implement poten-
Peru has tried to make water services tially unpopular measures—such as enforcing rate
sustainable through reforms, but several increases required by the regulator, or discon-
factors have blocked the way. Perhaps the necting nonpaying users—for fear of political
most challenging was convincing the public backlash. The governance situation of water
to pay higher prices for water. To make things delivery services was therefore untenable and
more difficult, the provision of water services jeopardized the financial sustainability of the
in Peru—and rate setting in particular—had decentralized water companies.
long been politicized. Political actors controlled
critical decisions—including rate setting—and Peru’s Water Sector Before the Ombudsman:
as a result, decisions often reflected political Problems and Inefficiencies
priorities instead of the needs of the public. The The constitution that Peru adopted in 1979
water boards, along with officials from the decen- established that local public service delivery is
tralized water companies, were responsible for the responsibility of municipal competencies.
not only managing and operating the utilities, but The Municipalities Organic Law of 1981 intro-

Copyright © 2010 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. All rights reserved.
2 | Social Accountability Notes

duced further regulation of service delivery. costs incurred by the EPS to provide services
Before 1990, urban water management was since company boards, which are selected by
under the authority of the National Potable elected officials, often refused to approve rate
Water and Sewerage Service (Servicio Nacional increases requested by the utilities’ management.
de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado), a centralized In some cases, the boards decided not to
public government agency under what was then enforce rate increases approved by SUNASS.
the Ministry of Housing and Construction. The The decisions of political actors not to enforce
promulgation of Peru’s new constitution in 1993 needed rate increases for fear of losing popular
did not substantially change municipal responsi- support have made water services unsustainable
bilities for water service delivery. throughout the country.
During the 1990s, public services in Peru, As the ideological debate over water sector
such as telecommunications and electricity, privatization raged, Peru’s water utilities displayed
were privatized. Yet urban water and sanitation huge inefficiencies. While privatization was an
services remained in the hands of municipal option, it was clear that this would be a lengthy
public corporations, with the exception of process that would initially occur only in selected
the Lima-based water and sanitation utility parts of the country. Consequently, the impor-
SEDAPAL, which remained a state-owned tance of improving the sector as a whole was
company managed by the national government. broadly recognized, particularly for those EPSs
In 1994, the Sanitation Services General Law was that would not be privatized immediately.
implemented, creating a water and sanitation
regulator: the National Superintendency for The Ombudsman As Facilitator
Water and Sanitation Services (SUNASS, Super-
intendencia Nacional de Servicios de Sanea- A Decentralized Ombudsman. The Office of
miento). The regulator was established to the Ombudsman was established in 1996 as
facilitate the privatization of water and sanitation an independent body to which citizens could
services following the model of Peru’s previous direct their concerns about and criticisms of
utility privatizations. SUNASS did not originally government action. The office has a constitutional
focus on improving the water utilities’ services, mandate to investigate citizens’ complaints,
but rather on justifying privatization by identi- monitor the impact of state action on citizens’
fying inefficiencies. Opposition to privatization rights, and advise the national government on
was too strong, however, and for years the how to rectify problems. The Ombudsman is
regulator did nothing to improve water services. also empowered to disseminate information
With privatization put on hold, a group of 50 to the public regarding how the government is
municipal sanitation service providers, or EPSs addressing public concerns.
(Empresas Prestadoras de Servicios de Sanea- In the water sector, the Office of the
miento), that were registered with SUNASS Ombudsman has had several primary objectives:
continued to supply water and sanitation services. to improve policies and regulations for the water
The EPSs were responsible for monitoring and and sanitation sector, to enhance the utilities’
meeting SUNASS’s coverage and service quality sustainability, to expand the utilities’ coverage,
standards and for approving rate increases to improve water quality, and to enforce fair and
proposed by the general shareholders, who were sustainable rate schedules.
principally provincial and district mayors. The The Office of the Ombudsman coordinates its
link between the EPSs and the municipalities activities with a network of 38 satellite offices. The
(whose leaders sat on the EPSs’ corporate boards network comprises 28 regional offices distributed
and elected their board members) was critical throughout Peru’s 24 regions and nine service
to the utilities’ decision making. Decisions were modules in small towns. The Ombudsman relies
therefore often based on political consider- on seven deputy ombudsmen, who support infor-
ations rather than technical ones, which impaired mation gathering and research for investigations.
the companies’ development and viability. In This high level of coordination has yielded critical
addition, the revenues from users continue to information that informs conclusions and recom-
provide the main source of income for the EPSs. mendations published in the Ombudsman’s
User rates, however, were typically less than the reports. The reports have in turn led to regulatory
Advocacy by the Office of the Ombudsman: Enabling Water Reforms Based on Citizens’ Feedback in Peru | 3

changes and public policy reforms. to pursue the issue in the court system. The
The Office of the Ombudsman enjoys signif- Office of the Ombudsman closes approximately
icant credibility throughout Peru. Peru’s Fourth 75 percent of cases without resorting to legal
National Anticorruption Survey, a report prepared recourse.
by a Peruvian business association (Opinión
y Mercado, Confiep) and a nongovernmental Complaints Concerning Water and Sanitation
organization (Proética), conducted interviews of Services. Between 1996 and 1998—the first two
a broad sample of Peruvian citizens. Quantitative years of the Ombudsman’s operation—approxi-
data compiled from survey results indicated that mately 10 percent of the complaints and requests
the public trusted the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation received by the office related
to fight corruption more effectively than other to problems with public services, including
state institutions, including the national police, water and sanitation. Particularly common were
the national government, and even religious requests for improvements in service quality,
associations. Furthermore, opinion polls indicate enforcement of fair rate schedules, and requests
that a majority of the Peruvian public trusts the for expanded coverage. In 1999, citizens lodged
Ombudsman as the defender of citizens’ rights. 159 complaints against water and sanitation
in Lima alone, and that figure rose to 302
Launching an Investigation. The Ombudsman complaints just one year later. In 2007, citizens
encourages citizens to contact any of the regional across the nation filed more than two thousand
offices or service modules to register concerns complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman
or file a complaint against a government utility concerning water and sanitation service. The
or agency. Representatives of the Ombudsman complaints were lodged against service providers
in each region review the circumstances such as SEDAPAL, the 50 other private sanitation
surrounding complaints by conducting a service providers, and SUNASS. The complaints
contextual analysis and performing background concerned rights violations, such as discrimi-
research on the legal and regulatory aspects nation in access to water and sanitation services,
of the perceived problem. The Office then arbitrary charges and other forms of incorrect
determines if the utility or agency has breached billing, incorrect metering, and poor quality of
its obligations in any way—such as through customer care.
delayed or absent service delivery, arbitrary or
unauthorized charges, or requests for kickbacks Rights-Based Investigation. During the same
by a local service provider—and whether that period, the Office of the Ombudsman was devel-
breach has violated citizens’ rights. oping a strategic roadmap to advocate and
If the Office of the Ombudsman finds a defend so-called second-generation rights—
concern or complaint credible, it then submits social and economic rights, such as the rights to
verbal or written recommendations to the health, education, security, and water. This effort
government utility or agency implicated. Each led to the Ombudsman’s decision in 2003 to
government utility and agency is obliged to launch an investigation of water and sanitation
cooperate with the Ombudsman by submitting to services throughout Peru, based on the idea
information inquiries, evaluating any recommen- that rights violations accounted for many of
dations set out by the Office of the Ombudsman, the obstacles to effective water and sanitation
and announcing whether or not those recom- management. The investigation was initially
mendations will be implemented (and if not, why undertaken by the deputy ombudsman for public
not). Once the implicated government utility utilities and the environment. The deputy’s
or agency responds to the recommendations, office sampled eight regions (Lima, Arequipa,
the Ombudsman closes the case. If the recom- La Libertad, Piura, Cusco, Ayacucho, Loreto,
mendations are not acted upon, the Office of and Junín) in which 63.3 percent of Peru’s urban
the Ombudsman may help the citizen who filed population (approximately 11 million people)
the complaint to appeal the decision using reside. Those citizens are served by nine water
alternative dispute resolution techniques and utilities comprised of eight municipal companies
continued dialogue. If these approaches are and SEDAPAL in Lima. The goal was to compile
unsuccessful, the complainant retains the right a report that would provide a series of recom-
4 | Social Accountability Notes

mendations to reform the legal and regulatory Germany’s KfW Cooperation Development Bank
environment for water and sanitation services and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation
throughout Peru. (JBIC) worked with the Peruvian government to
smooth the transition by calling for tenders to
The Ombudsman’s Findings: Challenges franchise water and sanitation services in the
to Effective Water and Sanitation Service cities of Tumbes and Piura. Three additional cities
Delivery in Peru (Huancayo, Trujillo and Pucallpa) were added to
this push for privatized utilities, until eventually
Lack of Independence of Decision Makers. The the water and sanitation services in Tumbes were
Ombudsman quickly discovered a high degree franchised amid intense political debate. The
of overlap of leadership across sectors: local privatization of drinking water and sanitation
leaders from various municipalities also served on services was a source of significant public anxiety.
the corporate boards of the 50 private sanitation Privatization was opposed by several civil society
services providers. This arrangement priori- organizations, including the Utilities’ Workers
tized political expediency over public interest Union, as well as by several public officials within
in decision making for the water and sanitation these five cities.
utilities. The Ombudsman determined that undue
influence by sitting members of local and central Good Practices Implemented by the
government had diminished the capacity of the Ombudsman to Promote Good Governance
utility to respond to community concerns and in the Water Sector
effectively deliver services. For example, the EPSs In July 2005, the Office of the Ombudsman
relied on rates paid by users, many of whom were published “Citizens without Water: Analysis of
charged incorrectly because service providers a Rights Violation” (report no. 94). The report
failed to adhere to the rate structure mandated included 19 recommendations for the Peruvian
by SUNASS. government, in particular to the Peruvian
congress; the Ministry of Housing, Infrastructure,
Financial Challenges. The Ombudsman found and Sanitation; the Ministry of Health; regional,
that financial shortfalls were preventing water provincial, and local governments; SUNASS; and
and sanitation service providers from expanding the various water and sanitation service providers.
coverage and improving water quality. Approxi- The Ombudsman presented the report on behalf
mately 45 percent of water and sanitation services of the citizens, calling on government authorities
throughout Peru were either not being billed to implement the recommendations.
because of illegal connections or not being paid To gather data and evidence for the report,
because of widespread delinquency by users the Office of the Ombudsman set in motion a
(payments were an average of six months late number of measures, several of which took on a
across the country). As a result, coverage did not life of their own and remained active after publi-
increase between 1998 and 2003 (it remained 83.6 cation of the report. Those measures included:
percent for water and 75.3 percent for sanitation).
Since service providers failed to adhere to rate • Decentralized Complaints System for
structures determined by the regulator, their Public Service Users. Since 2004, a team
income was less than their outlay for services; from the office of the deputy ombudsman
most were operating at a substantial deficit. for public utilities and the environment has
provided technical assistance to officials in
Tension Over Privatization of Water Services. the Ombudsman’s regional offices to properly
Despite widespread problems with state-run hear citizens’ complaints. The Office of the
water and sanitation services, there was intense Ombudsman uses the collected complaints
public concern about efforts by the Government in its annual report. The decentralized
of Peru to privatize these utilities. In the 1990s, complaint system has empowered users to
the Peruvian government established PROIN- contribute to improved governance.
VERSION, a government-run private investment
promotion board to facilitate the privatization • Public Dialogue. The Ombudsman advised
of state-run industries. Between 2003 and 2005 that candid dialogue should be permanently
Advocacy by the Office of the Ombudsman: Enabling Water Reforms Based on Citizens’ Feedback in Peru | 5

institutionalized, enabling stakeholders of congress and other representatives from


with widely divergent interests to air their political parties. At the meetings, the Office
concerns. Robust participatory dialogue of the Ombudsman shared the findings of its
among service providers, the regulator, water investigation and its recommendations for
users, and local and national government public policy reforms.
officials is integral to improving governance,
accountability, and responsiveness. It also • Disseminating Information through the
allows service providers and government Media. Print, broadcast, and digital media
officials to share information regarding rate are important channels for the dissemination
schedules, the utilities’ financial situation, and of information to the public. A well-informed
the need for government investment. Service public that understands pressing issues in
providers should be encouraged to stimulate the water sector is more likely to become
public discussion, share analyses with the involved in the decision making processes
public through horizontal information that affect it. To increase public awareness
exchanges, and comment on government of its actions, the Office of the Ombudsman
action—or lack thereof. Public scrutiny and prepared a broad strategy to enable local
analysis from diverse viewpoints will optimize and national media outlets to cover the publi-
the implementation and sustainability of cation of its report.
governance improvements. The Ombudsman’s report emphasized
that the country’s water sector needed
• Training Plans for Citizens. To prepare Peru’s improvement, while recognizing that
people for the report to come, the Office public money must fund improvements.
of the Ombudsman established a training As a result of the Ombudsman’s outreach
program to clarify its rights-based approach efforts, the report’s recommendations
to water delivery. It is imperative that the received wide coverage from newspapers,
public understands that although all citizens periodicals, specialized journals, commercial
of Peru have a right to water access, they and community radio, television, and
must bear the costs of water services. The online commentators for four consecutive
training further explains that the financial months. To facilitate media coverage, the
constraints of the EPSs have prevented Ombudsman prepared executive summaries
investments in better service delivery, of the report for newspapers; specialized
resulting in low-quality water services. In summaries with relevant material for period-
particular, the training emphasizes the way icals focusing on a particular subject; and
the existing rate structure prevents water workshops run by experts within the Office
utilities from improving services. The training of the Ombudsman and covering relevant
programs have disseminated critical infor- parts of the report in detail for broadcast,
mation regarding Peru’s water sector to the television, and digital media.
public and encouraged citizens to partic-
ipate in public hearings and submit their • Raising Awareness through Debate. The
complaints to the Ombudsman. report recommended rate increases to allow
utilities to pay for improvements. The Office
• Cooperative Diagnostics to Precipitate of the Ombudsman decided that water
Action. In response to feedback from the users in Peru with incomes over a given
public, the Office of the Ombudsman threshold should pay more for their utility
organized meetings with officials from various services. This proved to be an unpopular
sectors to cooperatively identify critical areas measure, but open discussion in a public
for action. The officials included general forum assured the public of the need for
directors from the ministries responsible for rate increases. To promote public under-
health, housing, sanitation, and the economy; standing of Peru’s precarious water situation,
vice-ministers for health and construction and water management and sanitation experts
sanitation; the mayors of the eight regions phrased explanations in accessible language
sampled for the investigation; and members and avoided technical jargon. The discus-
6 | Social Accountability Notes

sions changed many participants’ minds has increased citizens’ awareness of Peru’s
by informing them of the vulnerabilities rights-based approach to safe and clean
of their fellow citizens who had little or no water and empowered them to act on their
access to potable water and sanitation. The own behalf.
Ombudsman proposed to maintain and
improve the “social tariff” to assure the poor • Improving Utilities’ Handling of Customer
of continued access to water services. Complaints. In 2006, SUNASS promul-
gated two resolutions reforming customer
• Building the Capacity of the Office of the complaint protocols.1 Water and sanitation
Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman service providers are now obliged to address
recognized the importance of monitoring complaints about operations (such as broken
and evaluation and personnel training. The pipelines, floods, and blocked sewage)
Ombudsman therefore designed a course and business issues (such as construction
to train decentralized staff on issues and matters, permits for service connection,
challenges in the water and sanitation sector. and geographic availability of services). It
Monitoring and evaluation techniques were also established guidelines for a Sanitation
also improved to better track the progress Service Users’ Complaint Resolution Admin-
of government and service provider reforms istrative Tribunal. This was intended to
towards successful implementation of recom- standardize SUNASS’s criteria for resolving
mendations in the Ombudsman’s report. conflicts between water users and water and
To reinforce capacity development, all staff sanitation service providers.
members of the Office of the Ombudsman
are required to participate in annual plans • Widespread Policy Reforms to Improve
conferences and workshops that focus on Water and Sanitation Services. Throughout
reform and effective monitoring and evalu- Peru, the government and other organi-
ation of public services. zations introduced policy reforms that
improved service delivery in the water and
Key Results sanitation sectors. The Ministry of Economy
The Ombudsman’s investigations and subse- and Finance substantially improved regula-
quent publication and dissemination of the July tions that imposed duplicate restrictions on
2005 report yielded practical benefits in the water and sanitation utilities. It also amended
water and sanitation sectors. The Ministry of the rules governing utility users’ complaints
Sanitation and SUNASS pledged to adopt 18 of and customer service. SUNASS improved
its 19 recommendations. By 2008, the two bodies systems to monitor water quality throughout
had completely or substantially implemented 14 the country and instituted staggered rate
of them, including efforts to improve water and restructuring for 12 utilities—including water
sanitation services, scale up civic engagement and sanitation—over five years to offset the
in utilities operations, foster community-driven impact on service users. Finally, in an effort to
water and sanitation management, and improve increase public access to potable water and
policies and regulations. improve national health outcomes, Congress
promulgated legislation that permits
• Increasingly Empowered Water Users. “informal” occupants of houses, land, and
Between 2006 and 2007, water users filed other property to connect to local water
more than two thousand complaints about grids.
water and sanitation service nationwide, as
well as 535 requests for mediation in cases • New Composition of the Boards of Water
involving connection to the water system, Firms. The Ombudsman recommended
emergency assistance, and others queries that the water utilities alter the compo-
that required legal counsel. Clearly, the sition of their boards of directors. Specifi-
Ombudsman’s offices have made it easier
for citizens throughout Peru to lodge their 1. Resolution no. 028-2006-CD-SUNASS and Resolution no.
complaints. The improved complaint system 006-2006-SUNASS-CD.
Advocacy by the Office of the Ombudsman: Enabling Water Reforms Based on Citizens’ Feedback in Peru | 7

cally, the office advised that representatives • A National Modernization Strategy for
from the central government, the regional Making the Sector Sustainable. In 2005,
government, and civil society organiza- SUNASS devised a business plan to increase
tions should become more involved so as the efficiency of Peru’s decentralized water
to improve the transparency of the utilities’ utilities. The plan lays out goals for Peru’s
decision-making processes. The government water resource management and service
soon enacted the Law for Improving Water delivery—including rate structures conducive
and Sanitation Services Management (Ley to sustainable management—for the next
para Optimizar la Gestión de los Servicios 35 years, subject to review every five years.
de Saneamiento),2 which established a new The same plan proposes reforms for water
board configuration: up to two of the five subsidies. Prior to 2005, only 24 of Peru’s 50
board members may be members of the water utilities had established a rate structure.
municipality and must be elected by the New regulations, however, require that all
shareholders of the utility company. As for utilities in the country have a business plan.
the other three, one must represent the If a utility fails to develop a business plan,
regional government, and two must be from then SUNASS has the authority to implement
civic organizations such as the chamber of one, as it has done for several water utilities
commerce, area industries, universities, or since the regulations were enacted. The new
nongovernmental organizations. To add regulations have energized the utilities—to
stability to the board’s decision-making such a great extent, in fact, that another case
processes, the law also changed the study exploring SUNASS’s success might be
mandatory duration of the board term from appropriate. Since 2003 SUNASS has played
one year to three years. a key role in changing the regulatory climate
to allow for these reforms, at the urging of
• Rate Restructuring. In its July 2005 report, the Ombudsman.
the Office of the Ombudsman recommended
that the utilities restructure the rates for water • Civic Engagement in Water and Sanitation
services to more accurately reflect the true Utilities Oversight. Water and sanitation
cost of providing potable water. The old service providers have implemented more
rate structure added to the growing national robust feedback mechanisms to allow the
deficit, and municipalities lacked the resources public to express concerns and provide
to improve the coverage and quality of service suggestions for improving services. As of
of water utilities. The Ministry of Housing, 2007, six municipalities across Peru had
Infrastructure and Sanitation, which is respon- adopted an innovative water and sanitation
sible for water policy, approved a number management model in which community
of changes in the rate-setting processes. members participate in community super-
New policies and regulations governing the vision boards (comités de vigilancia) that make
management of Peru’s water utilities came critical decisions regarding service-delivery
into effect in 2006, and as a result SUNASS technology, local service quality, and tariff
has approved new rate structures for 24 levels. With technical assistance from the
utilities with staggered rate increases in the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program,
first, third, and fifth year. Rate increases for an the Ministry of Housing’s Small Town Pilot
EPS are subject to the EPS meeting stated Project supported the new model.
management goals. If the steering council of As of 2009, twelve water and sanitation
an EPS fails to increase rates, the water utility service providers in the eight regions under
can appeal to the regulator to enforce the review by the Office of the Ombudsman have
increase after a technical review. The changes improved access to and quality of potable
were designed to make EPSs more effective, water and sewerage services, and have insti-
efficient, and financially and technical viable. tuted micrometering, rate restructuring, and
more effective bill collection.

2. Law Nº 28870.
8 | Social Accountability Notes

• Continuing Attention to Water and Sanitation a human right which, as any human right,
Issues in Peru. The Ombudsman’s report should not have cost for people.” The
focused attention on sustainable water and Ombudsman held protracted dialogues with
sanitation management in Peru. Nongovern- representatives of the activists to convince
mental organizations, international devel- them—and by extension the public—of the
opment agencies, domestic political organi- necessity of public funding for public services,
zations, and others have asked the Office including water. The activists eventually recog-
of the Ombudsman to present the report nized the importance of paying for water
(and others3) to them. At the presentations, services, and they are now considered allies of
the Ombudsman emphasizes the need for the Ombudsman.
continued attention to water and sanitation
issues as a way to combat poverty. The admin- • The Water Privatization Debate Rages.
istration of President Alan García also used the The Office of the Ombudsman also joined
Ombudsman’s report to formally recognize the the popular debate on the privatization of
country’s second-generation right to water and the water utility. The Ombudsman used the
to inaugurate an ambitious investment plan for debate as a platform for proposing reforms
Peru’s water and sanitation sector. The “Water and disseminating research that demon-
for All” program (Agua para todos) seeks to strated the critical vulnerability of citizens
provide water connections to all Peruvians, who had low-quality water—or worse, none
including the poorest segments of society, at all. Notwithstanding the Ombudsman’s
beginning with more than one million citizens efforts, the debate reflects the conflicting
in Lima. While the program has yet to meet priorities and ideologies of various segments
its goals, its existence alone demonstrates of society. It appears that this debate will
increased awareness of the critical importance continue for some time.
of water and sanitation issues by Peru’s public
sector and citizenry. Conclusion
The Office of the Ombudsman contributed to
Challenges building the coalition responsible for reforming
Peru’s water sector.
• Changing the Mission of the Regulator. Throughout the reform process, the Office of
The regulatory framework that SUNASS the Ombudsman has emphasized the necessity
maintained until 2005 demonstrated that of cooperation in providing sustainable water
public water companies were not functioning and sanitation services across Peru. Reform
properly but failed to outline strategies for has not yet been completely successful, and
improving the situation. Changing the institu- implementation of some aspects of the reforms
tional behavior of the regulator was a lengthy remains a challenge. The progress, however, is
process, but SUNASS is now a collaborator in visible. The Ombudsman has encouraged the
water reform efforts in Peru. Peruvian public to inform themselves about
the issues surrounding the water sector. At
• Civil Society Rights Activists Opposed Water the same time, it has given various segments
Tariffs. Civil society activists in Peru opposed of society the opportunity to have their views
all tariffs for water services beginning in heard and advocated. New mechanisms for
the 1990s. This may have been a result of a hearing complaints and handling requests
widespread lack of awareness of the cost of for investigations from users have given the
providing water services. Since access to water public a new channel for involvement in the
was described as a right, activists demanded water-management process. These innovations
that the government provide water for free. have assisted the Ombudsman in identifying
The motto of their campaign was “defending the critical instances of government misman-
agement that hinder public service delivery.
3. Another report—Ombudsman’s Report No. 124, “The
Right to Water in Rural Areas: The Case of District Munici-
palities”—was published more recently.

This case study was written by Blanche Cotlear and Carlos Alza. Its findings,
interpretations, and conclusions are the authors’ own and should not be attributed to
the World Bank, its affiliated organizations, members of the Board, or the countries they
represent. For more information about this or other governance programs in the water
sector, please contact Karen Sirker at ksirker@worldbank.org (+1.202.458.2362).

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