Canal water pricing for irrigation in Pakistan: assessment, issues and options
Pricing canal water for irrigation to recover the cost of supply as well as promote efficient water use is one of the most neglected but highly debated issues in Pakistan, particularly among the academia, donors and research organizations. A number of research studies have been undertaken on water pricing, hereafter referred to as Abiana or water charges, but none could have dealt the issue comprehensively. This study is an attempt to provide a detailed national and provincial account of Abiana rates (water charges per acre for major crops), annual Abiana assessment and recovery. Most importantly, financial sustainability of irrigation system was also analyzed by comparing revenue from annual Abiana recovery to corresponding annual O&M cost. The study assessed secondary data for a period of ten years (2000-01 to 2009-10), obtained from provincial Irrigation Departments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The study scope is limited to assess water pricing and related aspects only for the public sector gravity-run canal systems.