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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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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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 Data needs to be unavailable, hard to access, or outdated.

Climate Change and India’s water

(A version of this appeared first in Firstpost on Sep 19, 2018) Undoubtedly, the water situation of India, which asks about a fifth of the world’s population to survive on less than 1/30th of the world’s water, is precarious. This is now. What about the future? India’s population is growing, getting wealthier, and, oh yes, …

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India’s Water Crisis. Part 1. How did we get here?

(This first appeared in Firstpost on Aug 08, 2018: https://www.firstpost.com/india/indias-water-crisis-tracing-the-countrys-history-of-water-management-and-crucial-destructive-shifts-in-policy-4895721.html) India's water crisis: Tracing the country's history of water management and crucial, destructive shifts in policy This past week, I, like many parents across the country, was revising history with my son for his test, which happened to be on the kingdom of Mesopotamia. More …

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Dengue – What to Do?

In South India, the conversation seems to always turn to Dengue. The neighbourhood hospitals are overflowing with dengue cases, and sachets of Nila Vembu Kashayam (a herbal remedy against fevers) are being sent home, as per government instructions, in my 5-year-old’s homework diary. Offices and factories are reeling under a wave of absenteeism as workers …

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Why we are the way we are?

So many of us give and receive inane advice. Things usually are the way they are for good reasons. It helps to understand why. A three part series on why India is the way it is - and how we can change it? The first part appeared in Firstpost on August 6th: http://www.firstpost.com/living/gujarat-assam-floods-why-blaming-climate-change-while-customary-is-also-unhelpful-3893631.html Want to …

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The fall of crude and the death of king coal

Something very unusual took place in 2014, that changed the course of the global economy. In June 2014, global oil prices began to fall. Brent Oil prices almost reached $115 in late June, and then began to fall precipitously. In early October 2014, with Brent prices about 20% lower at $90 per barrel, the PIRA …

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Two glaring symptoms of global warming: Drought & Heatwaves

(Image from thehindu.com) Time to spend money and attention on adaptation Price water. Please. We do not have the luxury to waste water on growing low-yielding rice varieties and sustaining 300 million cows & buffaloes. However, the current machinery extracts significant rent from crises. Emergencies give procedural checks and balances a go-bye making an already leaky …

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