Despite significant differences in political and administrative structures, recent reforms in urban domestic water tariff regimes in India and China have had similar trajectories with important but sometimes nuanced differences. In both countries, there has been a devolution of operational authority to municipal governments and acceptance of greater reliance on cost recovery through user fees. Reflecting this, there is considerable variation within each country in water tariffs, with cities in more water-short areas charging more than those with relatively abundant and accessible water resources. At the same time, authority over tariff setting remains largely outside the domain of the water agencies, and is highly political. One reflection of this is the infrequent adjustment of tariffs in both countries.

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