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  • Study recommends system of incentives, disincentives in water sector

    Considering the low water usage efficiency in India, the Union government should work out a system of incentives and disincentives to intensify efforts towards water conservation and to prevent over-exploitation, says a recent WHO-Unicef-sponsored study `Water Supply and Sanitation’, brought out in collaboration with the Planning Commission of India.

    As water is a state subject, its price is fixed by state governments and varies from state to state.

    With demand for water in the agricultural sector being as high as 95% of total demand, and no proportion between water rates and consumption patterns, the water usage efficiency in India stands at only 30-35%, the report says.

    “Such poorly targeted subsidies send the wrong signals to users, causing wasteful use of resources and sub-optimal choices by consumers,” the report continues.

    It recommends an appropriate tariff structure for water services to encourage wise usage and also help generate additional support for fund-starved service providers.

    Stating that it was imperative to intensify water conservation efforts in order to prevent the over-exploitation of existing resources and reduce the quantity of waste water generated, the report notes: “As water tariffs are very low, the consumer has little incentive to conserve water.”

    “Systems of incentives and disincentives will have to be worked, tried, revised and strengthened,” it says.

    Source: www.zeenews.com

    May 6, 2003

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