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.
May 6, 2003