31. The organization of water services in the Danube region is similar in its structure and distribution of responsibilities to other regions of Europe, but with some specifics that originate from the region’s historic background and development. Decentralization of service provision and ownership at the municipal level is currently the dominant form of organization, while private sector involvement remains largely limited. Driven by the EU accession process, some of the recent trends include the aggregation and corporatization of service providers and the establishment of independent regulatory authorities.

32. This chapter reviews how the main functions necessary in a well-structured water services sector—service provision, policy making, regulation, resource management, and sector monitoring—are distributed across national and local governments in the different countries. The chapter describes the size, ownership, and management of service providers; looks at policy-making responsibilities and at the relevance of the EU water directive for organization and service provision; and presents recent trends in sector regulation and monitoring.

33 The data and information in this chapter are largely derived from publicly available sources at the country and EU levels, and from a country-by-country review done by local experts of the sector’s governance and policies, which is referred to as “SoS data collection” in the text. Numerical values are referenced in full in the Country Pages at the end of the report.