U4 Brief | Natural resources and energy

Grand designs: Corruption risks in major water infrastructure projects

By John Butterworth
Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2009:27) 4 p.

Also available in French

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This publication is from 2009. Some of the content may be outdated. Search related topics to find more recent resources.

Multi‑million dollar water infrastructure projects carry some of the largest corruption risks in the sector linked to the procurement of civil works and associated design, supply and consultancy services. The potential for grand corruption in big dam projects and upgrading urban water and sanitation systems can be so significant as to skew policy making towards the most lucrative investments. “White elephants” such as overly sophisticated new wastewater treatment plants may come at the expense of maintenance of existing assets and more appropriate lower cost technologies and approaches.

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