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 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 1/5

(A version of this story appeared in Firstpost on Dec 02, 2018) Of late, I’ve been asked one question above any other: “Is it possible to fix India’s water crisis?”. My answer has been, “Yes, it’s possible.” But is it probable? That is a different story. The story so far… In the course of the …

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How to get voters to care about water?

A broken service to give the local politician a role, the importance of caste as a means of access, and the ensuing bribery to act as a lubricant. We have an equilibrium in place. Going deeper, lack of competition is one reason for the poor quality of services continuing. But it is not the only one. There is also the lack of data. Data needs to be unavailable, hard to access, or outdated.