Although some industry and government officials claim that these deals will help improve water provision, a review of literature reveals that these arrangements are unlikely to help municipalities finance water improvement projects or control costs. Public-private partnerships often increase costs, worsen service quality and allow infrastructure assests to deteriorate. They are an impractical alternative to traditional public water provision.
A study of local public service delivery in more than a thousand U.S municipalities found that from 1997 to 2002, twice as many municipalities ended privatization contracts and began public operation of water systems as privatized their water distribution systems. The researchers explained, "This suggests that a large proportion of municipalities experimented with privatization and found the results unsatisfactory."