Under Widodo, the Jakarta provincial government recently struck a deal with French utilities giant Suez Environnement SA to take over its subsidiary Palyja, which since 1998 has run the piped network's western half amid continual allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
Under the deal, the city would buy Palyja's shares via state-owned company Jakarta Propertindo (JakPro). A coalition of human-right-to-water activists, however, oppose the plan, and have held it up with a civil lawsuit that seeks to annul Palyja's original contract, which they maintain was forged illegally for the benefit of Suharto and his cronies.
Emanuele Lobina, a member of the Public Services International Research Unit at the University of Greenwich, testified in the Jakarta case as an expert witness.
The situation in the Indonesian capital reflects a larger remunicipalization push underway across the world. Since the turn of the century, at least 100 cities have retaken control of their once privatized water supply or sanitation networks.
Public-private partnerships of water supplies are still occurring mainly at the behest of the World Bank Group, which has pushed the arrangement since the early 1990s. But since 2006, Lobina told Asia Times Online, the trend had gone in reverse.
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PSIRU on Jakarta water - April 2014