Authors: Kei Kajisa, Piedad Moya, Lolita Garcia, Ma. Shiela Valencia, and Mary Rose San Valentin

Year: April 2018 Special Issue
Volume: 28 No. 1
Pages: 51-69


Volumetric irrigation water pricing, to replace area-based pricing, was experimentally introduced in two surface irrigation systems in Northern Luzon, Philippines. A survey was conducted in 2012 (baseline) and in 2013 (after the treatment). This paper draws lessons from this pilot project for future studies. We find that the impacts are not against the expected benefit of volumetric pricing: reduced discharge (water saving), more water for lower stream (equitable water distribution), and stricter water management. At the same time, we realized the tremendous difficulty in accurate volume measurement in surface irrigation systems. Given the difficulty, a volumetric system design may be feasible to measure volume at the headgate of a primal-level canal with a firm measurement structure and charge the fee to the group of farmers in the canal. This approach, however, demands for the successful collective management among the large group of farmers. An alternative design may be to charge water fee to a much smaller unit (e.g., water users group) for their easier collective management. However, this requires investment in infrastructure for group-level volume measurement and water control. An appropriate system in the reality seems to lie in the spectrum of these two options, depending on different environmental and socio-economic background.