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A qualitative approach to study water markets in Pakistan




Abro, Altaf A., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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The government of Pakistan has recently introduced reforms to reduce the financial deficit of the country's irrigation sector. Reforms are expected to grant autonomy to irrigation agencies and transfer part of the management responsibilities to water users. Water markets are already functioning in the country, but are limited to tube-well or sub-surface water in two provinces only. Although the development of water markets is described as being efficient, little is known regarding the potential feasibility for and impact of such markets on small landholders. The government's public investment in large irrigation projects has already widened the gap between large and small landholders in terms of revenues and financial assets. It is feared that reforms will further allow for arrival of powerful landholders and businessmen from other regions that will steadily displace the small local agricultural producers. Several studies have been conducted from a quantitative perspective, but no qualitative study has been conducted that may provide insight into the equity issues in regard to water markets. Therefore, a qualitative study is proposed to investigate the affects of water markets on small landholders in Pakistan and the markets' role in the distribution of the benefits of water resources among landholders across all categories.


Presented during the Third international conference on irrigation and drainage held March 30 - April 2, 2005 in San Diego, California. The theme of the conference was "Water district management and governance."

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