November 7, 2012

2012: Highlight # 33

Maharashtra is the first Indian state to have an independent water regulator - MWRRA. Is it playing a critical role in reforming the water sector? SOPPECOM, Pune present an assessment...

Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority

An assessment


Among all Indian states, Maharashtra has been at the forefront of institutional reform in the water sector. It was also the first to significantly raise irrigation service fee on public irrigation systems. The Maharashtra State Water Policy of 2003 was a landmark of sorts. In 2005, the state passed two important pieces of legislation: one, Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers (MMISF) Act, and two, Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) Act followed by a US$ 325 million loan from the World Bank to ground the above reform initiatives. Of all these, the MWRRA experiment has been closely watched by other states as well as by the civil society.

In this Highlight we make a broad assessment of the functioning of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) and its implications at the ground level. The assessment is done against the core features /functions of the MWRRA and the key promises the MWRRA Act had made. These include: (1) independence from executive and political systems and processes; (2) fixing of entitlements including individual and bulk water entitlements as well as inter-sectoral allocations; and (3) rationalization of water tariff.

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