Provision vs Management – the Eternal choice of the Indus Waters

(A version of this piece first appeared in Firstpost on Apr 09, 2019) Last time we saw how the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) defanged the dam as a geopolitical source of advantage. But the more relevant question to ask is – will securing the Indus secure India’s water future? To answer that question, we need …

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The Story of the Indus – Can the Indus Waters be turned off?

The Indus Valley provides a fascinating and disturbing example of what geopolitics, colonisation, finance and climate can do to a region. This vulnerable land, which the British transformed with philosophy, canals, land and tax reforms into what it is today - a fault-line between two nuclear nations. Today, with tensions rising, the question asked is “can the tap on the Indus waters be turned off?”

What can we do about India’s water crisis – Part 5/5

Solution#2 for cities: Decentralized Sewage Treatment What to do and when to do it: Managing water in Indian cities is hard. Our water philosophy has thus far largely rested on grabbing a higher share from reservoirs or desalination – i.e., we’ve pinned our hopes on centralized provision rather than decentralized management. However, in the land …

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What can we do about India’s water crisis – Part 4/5

Solution#1: Rejuvenating cascading systems of tanks in one set of interconnected of tanks. What to do and When to do it: Let’s start with the “When”. The best time to embark on this exercise is right after a major drought. At that time, borewells are likely to be dry, and there will be strong popular …

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What can we do about India’s water crisis – Part 3/5

(A version of this piece appeared in Bloomberg Quint on Dec 02, 2018) Case Study 2: Telangana The politics of building water resilience – a problem of timelines In Telangana, politics is water, and water defines politics, in a connection that stretches back through the sea of history. The Kakatiya dynasty, who ruled Telangana from …

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What can we do about India’s water crisis – Part 2/5

Case Study 1: Madhya Pradesh Given the effort to shift all the necessary pieces of the water management equilibrium, governments shift what they can – often only one or two pieces. But, moving some, but not other pieces, can have unforeseen consequences. Such was the case in Madhya Pradesh (MP), the poster-child of sound water …

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