Author(s): SOLPO Research
The Policy and Regulatory Landscape of Water in India
Abstract: Water resources management is estimated to be the single largest issue which will dominate the discourse on environmental and natural resources law in the coming decades. India is home to 18 percent of the world population and has only 4 percent of the global water resources. The growing water scarcity and the need to use the available water more efficiently among different sectors makes it necessary to seriously engage with stakeholders and firm up the existing water-related regulatory structure.
To address India’s water issues, SOLPO Research is organizing a webinar on the subject of regulating water in the context of distribution and pricing. This webinar booklet is a briefing note on the specific issues in the water sector, why the current approach needs to be changed and the possible policy, regulatory and legislative options to address the issues in focus. The note first examines the Jal Jeevan Mission scheme (JMM) of the government of India and the issues in the availability of water. It analyses the application of an economic pricing model for water supply and consumption and evaluates whether other sectors (like energy) can cross-subsidize agriculture-related water consumption. It highlights the growing trend of State-level regulators for the water sector and deliberates on the requirement for over-arching water laws and a coercive legal framework on the subject. The note also explores the possibility of private sector participation in water distribution in certain areas with a view to improving water quality and efficiency, including policy intervention in treating human/animal waste and treatment of waste-water before it flows into rivers/lakes/groundwater. Issues pertaining to the National River linking Project (NRLP), the world’s largest infrastructure irrigation project have also been highlighted.