Irrigation Water Pricing in Tunisia: Issues for Management Transparency

Chokri Thabet, Ali Chebil


Tunisia is facing increasing competition for water among users due to population and economic growth. Projections show that the water resources will be fully used by 2010. As a result, the opportunity cost of water has risen significantly. In order to cope with potential water shortages, the Tunisian government has undertaken a set of policies and technical measures, such as institutional reforms, improving the efficiency of water delivery network and water pricing policies reforms. It has been observed that cost estimation of water produced and delivered is not transparent. Thus any increase in water price is opposed by farmers. Data is not consistent, making the establishment of a water pricing scheme difficult. Besides, the water authority lacks accurate information on water productivity at farm level leading to asymmetric information on the side of the authorities as well as on the side of the farmers. For a successful reform of the irrigation water pricing policy two conditions have to prevail: i) integration of the accounting system of capital costs with an analytical approach and ii) assessing farmers’ willingness to pay for irrigation water. Finally, the implementation of a water rights system could be an alternative to solve the asymmetric information problem and improve the economic efficiency.



Water cost, accounting, cost recovery, reforms.

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