IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Are water policies a case of reverse engineering in India?

Listed author(s):
  • Viswanathan, P. K.
  • Parthasarathy, P.
Registered author(s):

    The emerging water crisis calls for a paradigm shift in policies and regulatory regimes the world over, including India. However, there are serious challenges and operational level constraints needing a thorough scrutiny and understanding as regards the historical and region-specific contexts and factors within which such policies and regulatory regimes are evolving. Arguably, water policies should have been evolved based on an understanding of the social contexts within which they are to be implemented. Besides, implementation of water policies also requires creating new or fine-tuning of the existing regulatory regimes and governance systems to have the desirable outcomes on the society. Set in this broader perspective, the paper tries to understand the emerging policy as well as institutional reforms and regulatory regimes in water sector in India, with particular reference to Maharashtra and Gujarat states. First, the paper provides a brief review of the national water policies of 1987 and 2002, followed by a detailed discussion on the water policies/ water sector reforms in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Then it makes a critical assessment of the policies of Maharashtra and Gujarat with respect to their responses and sensitiveness in addressing the water sector challenges as discussed above. As emerge from the analysis, it is obvious that only Maharashtra has set up policy framework of enabling provisions and authorities with somewhat clearly defined powers. The central question that remain unanswered is, what is water right and how is it defined. So far the polices only state priorities (for instance drinking water to be first and so on) but these are clearly not with respect to the state of the resource (except in scarcity years). We argue that in many of the natural resources there is a need to intercede the management of the resource and the users’ interests with clearly defined legal framework. Except in Andhra Pradesh and in Maharashtra, half-hearted attempts in many other states to reverse engineer the process of providing legal support to isolated cases of water distribution (not management) have neither led to improvements in resource management nor in legitimizing users stake in the resources.Length: pp.692-707

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by International Water Management Institute in its series Conference Papers with number h042928.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2008
    Handle: RePEc:iwt:conppr:h042928
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    127, Sunil Mawatha, Pelawatte, Battaramulla

    Phone: +94-11 2880000
    Fax: +94-11 2786854
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. 3i Network,, 2007. "India Infrastructure Report 2007: Rural Infrastructure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195685503.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iwt:conppr:h042928. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chandima Gunadasa)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.