New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 6: Improving Access to Water: Institutions, Entitlements and Inequality
6.1 INTRODUCTION In Chapter 3, with regard to the Millennium Development Goals, it was seen that improving access to water and sanitation is complex and in some respects, some of the diﬀerences between the high and low achievers were not statistically signiﬁcant. Also, there is the question whether national-level progress is often at odds with the micro-level picture. This chapter focuses on access to water supply and issues of inequality in an individual city, Chennai, India, and examines the institutional and individual responses to water-supply shortages and scarcity. The plan of the chapter is as follows. Section 2 considers and adapts some strands of the relevant literature to water-supply issues. Sections 3 and 4 discusses water-supply provision in India and Chennai, respectively. Included in section 3 are: an explanation of how groundwater regulation aﬀects market response and a discussion on a water balance sheet for Chennai. Section 5 focuses on issues of inequality in access to water supply using the entitlements approach. Section 6 focuses on the various steps that households take to improve water quality. Section 7 examines monthly expenditures incurred by households in relation to direct costs, costs of time in collecting water and costs related to improving water quality. Some issues for policy and further research are summarised in Section 8. 6.2 INSTITUTIONS AND ENTITLEMENTS IN RELATION TO WATER SUPPLY Reform of water-supply institutions is subject to various inﬂuences. If scarcity of water is considered to be a problem of there being not...
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