About 30 percent of Colombians—many of them poor—live in small cities and towns with insufficient water supply and sanitation coverage. To remedy this, in June 1995 the District of Cartagena entered into a management contract with ACUACAR for the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of the water supply and sanitation systems for a period of 26 years, granting management autonomy to the operating partner. To fulfill its contractual obligations, ACUACAR is required to generate and maintain a minimum corporate capital of 4 billion Colombian pesos (approximately $1.9 million in 2009).

In turn, ACUACAR executed a management contract with AGBAR. Its commitment as operating partner included the transfer of technology, recruitment of specialized staff, and training of workers, in addition to improving the indicators for efficiency in operations and investment for the rehabilitation and replacement of networks and systems. The operator’s remuneration for its work is a percentage of ACUACAR’s income from tariff revenue, in addition to earnings on its ACUACAR shares.