Water—A Global Challenge and a Priority for the OECD
THE DEBATE OVER MUNICIPAL WATER PRICING: EVIDENCE FROM KOLKATA, INDIA (pp. 571-582)
aDepartment of Economics, Barjora College, Bankura, India; bDepartment of Economics, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India
Contact: Chirodip Majumdar, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Steps to rationalize the municipal water pricing system have raised various debates in Kolkata, India. The primary point of debate is whether the age-old direct subsidy to a water system benefiting all users should continue or a volumetric charge on water usage should be imposed. Apart from this, issues such as a transitional phase pricing strategy, specific tariff structure, support for the poor and management options are widely debated by those that favour rationalization. The present paper examines the behaviour of 500 households of Kolkata, India, and uses the information to resolve the issues of contention. It is estimated that a uniform volumetric charge of Rs. 4 per kilolitre can be imposed in the phase of transition.
IMPLICATIONS OF DROUGHT AND WATER REGULATION IN THE KRISHNA BASIN, INDIA (pp. 583-594)
Contact: A. Gaur, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: The multi-state Krishna river basin (258 948 km2) serving a population of 70 million is an important basin in peninsular India. The over-exploitation in the basin has led to an increase in hydrological droughts and interstate conflicts. During the last five years drought, domestic and energy water needs were met at the expense of agriculture. In the lower reaches, even the domestic water needs could not be satisfied and required coordination with the upstream projects. The over-exploited basin needs integrated management, together with a proper assessment of water allocation criteria.
LEGAL FRAMEWORKS GOVERNING WATER IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (pp. 595-624)
Contact: Carl Bruch, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: For millennia, countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have developed laws, regulations and other rules to govern their scarce water. These laws have been updated in recent years. This review of the legal frameworks (including regulations, decrees and other rules) reveals both progress and gaps in managing water quality, water quantity and procedural aspects. Of note, while the general frameworks are usually in place, in many instances the necessary details are lacking to give effect to the goals. However, in some instances the legal frameworks governing water lack certain key principles or approaches. In order to effectively meet the growing demands on their water resources, MENA countries will need to further strengthen and develop their legal frameworks.
THE HELSINKI RULES, THE UN WATERCOURSES CONVENTION AND THE BERLIN RULES: PERSPECTIVES ON INTERNATIONAL WATER LAW (pp. 625-640)
Abstract: Shared water resources remain the most important area without a universal treaty regulating the uses and protection of such resources. This is notwithstanding the extensive work of two scholarly non-governmental organizations, the Institute of International Law and the International Law Association, as well as the work of the International Law Commission of the United Nations. The work of those institutions resulted in some basic international water law rules, such as the Helsinki and Berlin Rules, and the United Nations Watercourses Convention. The paper analyzes those instruments, discusses the basic areas of similarities and differences among them, and examines the basic challenges facing international water law.
ECO-POLITICS OF DAMS ON THE GAMBIA RIVER (pp. 641-657)
Contact: Andre Degeorges, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: In the 1980s, USAID (US Agency for International Development) funded an environmental assessment of dams on the Gambia River, which determined that construction of the Balingho anti-salinity barrage would result in adverse unmitigative environmental and social consequences. Attempts by host country politicians, USAID and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) to discredit this process made it necessary to take the matter to the Natural Resource Defense Council. A case study of the events surrounding these dams and their potential construction illustrates the ‘big dam’ paradigm and its potential harm to people, their livelihoods and the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS FOR WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (pp. 659-677)
aVanderbilt University, USA; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, USA; AKF, Copenhagen, DK; bDepartment of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA; cDepartment of Economics, Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, USA
Contact: Christopher D. Clark, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Many of the developing economies in the Middle East and North Africa face serious constraints due to limited access to freshwater. Prescriptions for overcoming these constraints have tended to concentrate on increasing supply. An increasingly important alternative is to dampen demand and alter the allocation of freshwater by pricing water at levels that more accurately reflect its scarcity. This paper discusses the role of economic instruments in achieving these ends, including: how the instruments might be structured; what types of outcomes could be produced; what limitations will need to be faced, and what institutional resources will be required.
RATIONAL PRICING OF WATER AS AN INSTRUMENT OF IMPROVING WATER USE EFFICIENCY IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR: A CASE STUDY IN GUJARAT, INDIA (pp. 679-690)
Abstract: The agricultural sector in India accounts for over 85% of the total water used for various purposes in the country. However, the efficiency of water use in agriculture is very low, approximately 40% for surface irrigation and 60% for groundwater irrigation. Part of the reason for the low efficiency is the highly subsidized price of irrigation water that encourages the excessive application of water to crops. This paper is based on a case study conducted in the command area of a public irrigation canal in the state of Gujarat, India. It attempts to explore the role of the rational pricing of canal irrigation water in motivating farmers to use water judiciously and thereby enhance the water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture. The paper contends that farmers are sensitive to an increase in irrigation water charges, but unless the administered price is increased to the level that would prevail in a free market, it will not have its intended effect on irrigators.
INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN THE CROSS RIVER BASIN, NIGERIA (pp. 691-708)
aDepartment of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria; bDepartment of Geography, Lancaster University, UK
Contact: Emmanuel M. Akpabio, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: This paper examines the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Cross river basin, Nigeria. The Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA) was established in 1976 with a mandate for integrated development, using the abundant water resources available in the region. Thirty years after the creation of the CRBDA, there is still a large gap between the original objectives and the actual delivery of services to meet the needs of the people. A wide range of study methods, including stakeholder meetings, focus group sessions, interviews and observations at village meetings of selected communities was used to examine the implementation of IWRM against the expectations and needs of the people. The paper concludes that IWRM in the Cross river basin (CRB) has not been very successful. This is attributed to a number of institutional factors, including legal, political, administrative and financial obstacles. This paper recommends that IWRM policies in the CRB should be reformed to reflect local circumstances and conditions.
INTER-BASIN WATER TRANSFER (IBWT) FOR THE AUGMENTATION OF WATER RESOURCES IN INDIA: A REVIEW OF NEEDS, PLANS, STATUS AND PROSPECTS (pp. 709-725)
Abstract: River basins are natural hydrologic entities whose water resources can be harnessed to meet the requirements for agriculture, people and nature. This is often achieved by means of dams that enable water transfer to needy areas. If such water availability within a basin is inadequate, it is transferred from another surplus basin. Such intra and inter-basin water transfer (IBWT) has been carried out throughout the world over for centuries. In view of growing needs and inadequate in-basin availability, in 2002 the Government of India announced a massive plan for an IBWT programme involving 30 links between different river basins. This paper reviews the plan, indicates its evolution, advantages, potential, etc. while describing the reservations, misgivings and objections to the plan. It indicates some related developments, the present status of the proposals and provides answers to the latter. The paper also lists successful experiences in different continents, together with those in India, to highlight the soundness of the concept of IBWT.
International Workshop on Reservoir Inundation-related Issues, 6 October City, Egypt, 12–13 February 2007