The Effect of Government Structure and Size on the Performance of Mississippi Community Water Systems

Author(s): Barrett, J.

Mississippi has an abundant supply of underground aquifers which are utilized by community water systems as their source for drinking water. As the demand for water increases through the increasing population and the influx of industries, there is a need to manage the consumption and distribution of this valuable resource. The initial management forms created with the constructing of Mississippi’s water supplies have experienced peaks and valleys of performance. Since their inception, the Mississippi drinking water industry has spawned new regulations, new management options, and creative ideas to promote a safer more efficient community water system. Over the past 15 years, Mississippi has seen several centralization efforts occur, where a municipality, utility district, or a rural water association merges with one or multiple adjoining or close proximity community water systems. This results in one of the three legal structures of a community water systems increasing in size in an effort to heighten performance. It will be valuable to see which of the consolidating government structures has been able to achieve optimal performance. This research analyzes the size (population) and government structures of Mississippi community water systems and will determine if economies of scale and economies of scope exist. This study will reveal the affect that size and government structure have on the overall performance of Mississippi community water systems.
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