Maharashtra Water Resource Regulatory Authority s approach paper on criteria for determination of bulk water tariff in 2013 - 2016 - Draft put out for inviting comments


The MWRRA, established in August 2005 by the State government under an Act of the Legislature, completed its first tariff exercise in May 2011. The exercise ended with the issue of a tariff order conveying water charges for volumetric use by various categories of users for the period 2010-2013. The order was preceded by the finalization of the criteria for bulk water tariff in June 2010 through an elaborate process of public consultation as prescribed by section 11 (d) of the Act. Under another section of the Act {Section 11(u)} the Authority is required to review and revise the water charges every three years. Thus the first revision in water charges becomes due from 2013 for the period 2013-16.

The first tariff exercise, spread over two years, was a learning experience for the Authority. Based on this experience the Authority has prepared a set of regulations outlining the procedures to be followed in the tariff fixation exercise. These regulations are now being adopted for the new tariff exercise. The exercise begins with the preparation and circulation of this Approach Paper on Criteria for determination of Bulk Water Tariff for the period 2013-16. Before taking up this work, the Authority invited suggestions from line Departments, Water Utilities, NGOs, Experts and other stakeholders. A number of suggestions were received and the same were supposedly given due consideration in drafting the Approach Paper. 

Besides the introductory Chapter, the draft approach paper has six other Chapters. Chapter-wise contents in brief are as below:

  • Chapter II - Transmission losses in irrigation systems and water use efficiency in the State based on data compiled from various sources.
  • Chapter III - The operation & maintenance cost of irrigation management with maintenance and repair norms as per revised WALMI study and establishment norms as per extant Government orders.
  • Chapter IV - The various relevant suggestions received & issues identified from line departments, utilities, NGOs and experts together with issues identified by the Authority also.
  • Chapter V - Gives database for agriculture, irrigation, domestic and industrial use relevant for the tariff exercise for 2013-16.
  • Chapter VI - The methodology for data projection for 2013-16 of water use and other data like irrigation potential, establishment costs with actual projection for 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16.
  • Chapter VII - Proposed methodology for working out bulk water tariff (2013-16) with allocation of  operation & maintenance cost among the three categories of users and working out of volumetric and area based tariff (for agriculture).
In the earlier approach paper for 2010-13 exhaustive coverage was given to topics like international experiences in bulk water pricing, recommendations of various Water Pricing Committees, legal frame work for bulk water sector in the State, water conservation and recycling technologies and water rates in other States. No suggestions were received on these topics warranting a reference to them in the present approach paper. These topics have not been repeated in the present paper.

Some of the new features of the paper are the inclusion of a separate chapter on transmission losses in the irrigation systems, a revision in the weightages attached to the matrix parameters and a revised approach to the costing exercise. For estimating the transmission losses all available data on efficiency assessment has been collated and applied. The revision in weightages are based on the Authority’s perception of the demand supply dynamics and in the costing exercise the issue of establishment charges, which constitutes a major chunk of the cost of irrigation management, has been addressed. Most of the concessions of the earlier Criteria have been retained.

The maintenance and repair norms have been reviewed by WALMI through an Expert Committee. The allocation of operation and maintenance cost to irrigation has been reviewed and the burden slightly brought down.

Needless to say that much still needs to be done in the state on water quality preservation and enhancement and on water conservation. Though tariff as a tool to promote these has limited effectiveness, efforts need to continue in this direction. In regard to irrigation management it has to be recognized that the formation of User Associations and handing over of the systems to them for management is the solution of choice for many problems in the long term. A modest beginning has been made in the state but given the constraint of funds needed for system rehabilitation, it is an unfortunate a fact that even by the end of this decade, only about twenty per cent of the irrigated area will be managed by farmers themselves. Issues like low water use efficiency and system losses due to pilferage and leakage, have to be viewed in this backdrop.

The approach paper (in English and Marathi) can be downloaded below - 

Post By: Amita Bhaduri