New Institutional Framework State-level Regulators
The 12th Plan recognises the need to evolve an institutional framework backed by a legal regime that facilitates setting up of regulatory bodies that would enable resolution of water conflicts.
The water quality, environment and health standards set by the regulator have a bearing on tariffs. The final call on tariffs would, of course, be a political one but the regulators have a crucial role in advising governments on the objective basis for tariff determination (somewhat akin to what the CACP does for agriculture pricing). The basic requirements of drinking water and of the environment need to be determined and ensured in a transparent manner and kept as a "Reserve" (as it is called, for example, in South Africa). The determination of this level requires an independent regulator who can transparently, accountably, and in a participatory manner, conduct the processes and procedures required for this.
New Legal Framework New Groundwater Law
Sustainable and equitable management of groundwater based on aquifer management requires a new legal framework to support efforts in this direction.
The 12th Plan has proposed a new Model Bill for the Protection, Conservation, Management and Regulation of Groundwater. It is based on the idea that while protection of groundwater is a key to the long-term sustainability of the resource, this must be considered in a framework in which livelihoods and basic drinking water needs are of central importance.