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Relationship between performance measures of Indian water supply services and their determinants

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
4. Water policy and governance
Author(s): Sai Amulya Nyathikala
Mukul Kulshrestha

Sai Amulya Nyathikala
National Institute of Tecnology, MANIT Bhopal
Mukul Kulshrestha
National Institute of Tecnology, MANIT Bhopal

Keyword(s): water-supply services, operational efficiencies, performances of water-supply operations, regression analysis, Data Envelopment analysis, indicator, policy implications


In recent times, the solutions to water supply problems in India have increasingly focused on improving the service efficiencies of existing services. This implies that the performances of water supply operations are analyzed to bring about improvements in the water supply services. These performances are measured in terms of specific attributes of an individual utility, and therefore the determining factors underlying the changes in various measures of efficiency assume significant importance.

This Paper employs the use of a Regression analysis to determine the nature of relationship between the input and output variables for performance evaluation carried out using the Stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) based approach to evaluate efficiencies of water supply utilities. This paper details the importance of these determinants on performance measures with reference to policy implications and outcomes.   


Increased emphasis on performance improvements can bring benefits of large internal savings which may be beneficially deployed for greater expansion and coverage of services especially to the poor, and for furthering service quality improvements.  Hence it becomes imperative to measure efficiencies, and to identify those operational variables that play the most significant role in the determination of costs.

Key Issues

In the developing country context, the efficiencies of water supply utilities often remain unmeasured in India. Neither are the determinants of efficiencies known. The present work identifies gaps between actual and existing best practices, and gauges the extent of savings possible if inefficiencies are mitigated. Impact of various operational parameters on  efficiency measurements such as length of distribution network, number of labor per connection, percentage of connections metered, percentage of surface water and the nature of ownership  are also determined and  discussed in detail.


Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) was applied for data from a total of 20 cities in the urban areas of India. For a utility with quantity of Output (Q), the selected inputs are Staff per thousand connections (L/’000), Length of the network (L), Density (Population served/Area covered by the service) (Dens) and Non-revenue Water (NRW %) as represented by the production function, Q = ƒ{(L/’000), Len, Dens, NRW(%)}.A total of 3 models were analyzed using various combinations of inputs-output variables in different functional form to choose an appropriate SFPF model. The assumptions of the “isotonicity” relationships between the input and output factors were examined. A regression analyses was further carried out to aid an understanding of the systematic causes of variation in the efficiency of water utilities, and to derive the extent of importance of various operational parameters on efficiencies of utilities.

Analysis, results and implications for policy and /or research

Typical results reveal that the metro cities have efficiencies (79.16%) higher than mean sample efficiency of 65.69%, indicative of the fact that larger urban centers get greater attention from the service managers. The Mean efficiencies for larger cities (82.45%). also exceeded mean efficiencies for smaller city group (61.92%). The Regression analysis indicates that if losses increase by 10% then inefficiencies increase by 1.5%.The paper also determines the scope of total additional average daily production of water if best practices are followed. The regression results reveal that percentage of metered connections and length of distribution network are major determinants of performance of water utilities.

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