THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Assessing Water Charges under Changing Institutional Irrigation Management in Pakistan: A Methodological Framework
The Government of Pakistan has opted for institutional reforms for canal irrigation system of the country with a view to undertaking efficient operation and maintenance of the system and improving cost recovery. In the new reforms, the Farmers’ Organisations will manage distributaries and minors and pay the cost of upstream water in full. The complex hierarchy of the system poses serious challenges for working out the cost of water delivery for various channels. The paper presents a methodological framework for assessing the recoverable O&M costs from the farmers benefiting from an irrigation network. Hakra 4-R Distributary in the Eastern Sadiqia Canal serves as an illustration. The methodology shows how the beneficiary farmers can share the costs of the system. Simple methods are provided for working out water rates on the basis of volume of water received, commanded area, and duration of the irrigation turn. Out of the three methods, the area-based and time-based water rates have comparative advantage over the volumetric water rates owing to the resource endowments of the farmers.