The neoliberalization of water in Lima, Peru

A.A.R. Ioris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neoliberalization of the water sector in Lima, Peru, is analyzed using an innovative conceptual framework with three interrelated dimensions: techno-environmental improvements, the monetization of water services and the search for political legitimacy. Application of this conceptual framework to the recent reforms of the public water services of Lima, a city historically fraught with social inequalities and water management problems, shows that there have been two distinctive phases: firstly, emphasis on techno-environmental improvements and monetization in the 1990s (when the privatization of the local water utility was the ultimate, but unfulfilled, goal); secondly, a focus on monetization and legitimization in the 2000s (marked by more flexible mechanisms of private sector involvement). Fieldwork in Lima reveals that positive results from increased investment in water services have been undermined by the discriminatory and short-term basis of neoliberalization of water. Problems of debt financing, neglect of equity of access to services and weak environmental sustainability threaten the long-term future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-278
Number of pages13
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Neoliberalism
  • Nature neoliberalization
  • Water conflicts
  • Public utility
  • Political geography
  • Environmental justice
  • Resource geography


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