Independent water regulatory authorities in India - Analysis and interventions - A compendium of analytical work by PRAYAS

This compendium by PRAYAS includes the outcome of an analysis and advocacy based study on water regulation in the context of Water Sector Reforms (WSRs),

These reforms have led to the establishment of Independent Regulatory Authorities (IRAs) in the water sector through the enactment of laws at the state level.

The document argues that this reform measure has not only attempted to introduce new institutional structures for the regulation of the water sector, but has also focused on institutionalising the new principle of water governance such as 'full cost recovery' or 'economic use of water'.

However, the reform measure related to water IRAs is yet in its nascent stage and this provides a window of opportunity to generate wider awareness and facilitate a wider debate on various public interest issues related to IRAs in the water sector on an urgent basis. This document aims at doing so and is divided into the following sections:

Section 1:
Background: Water sector reforms and regulatory laws
This section provides a brief introduction to the water sector reforms. It also includes an introduction specific to the recent laws passed in the state of Maharashtra, including the law for establishment of an independent regulatory authority in the water sector. The key principles of the water sector reforms are introduced and followed by a short review of reform initiatives undertaken in India and Maharashtra.

Section 2:
Analysis of regulatory laws: Independent regulatory authorities in the water sector
This section includes a compilation of various documents related to analysis of regulatory laws and begins with a note on water IRA laws in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The second part of this section includes analysis of the procedural aspects of the MWRRA law, especially in the light of its implications on the mechanisms required for evolving public control on governance of IRAs. The last part of this section focuses on analysis of the proposed groundwater regulation bill in Maharashtra.

Section 3:
Privatisation of irrigation projects: regulatory intervention through MWRRA
This section includes a compilation of documents of regulatory intervention related to the process of privatisation of an irrigation project in Maharashtra. The first subsection presents the rationale, strategic and substantive contents and the overall outcome and impacts of the intervention.

The subsections 2 to 5 include the petition filed before the water regulatory authority in Maharashtra and various submissions made during the hearings.The last subsection includes a short compilation of news clippings and articles published in leading newspapers and magazines.

Section 4:
Bulk water tariff: Regulatory intervention through MWRRA
This section includes a compilation of documents of regulatory intervention related to the process of determination of bulk water tariff regulations. The first subsection presents in brief the rationale, substantive contents and the overall results of the intervention.

The subsequent subsection includes various submissions made by PRAYAS with the objective of promotion and protection of public interest during the process of determining tariff regulations. The last sub-section includes the press notes released to the media, and clippings of news and articles published in the leading newspapers.

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