Keeladi – Life, Death and Water in Ancient India

Back to the Future: Keeladi and the centrality of water in an ancient Indian city. About 13 kilometres east of Madurai, on the spanking new Rameswaram highway, one turns right and heads through a sleepy village to a set of coconut farms. In between the coconut trees are patches of cleared ground with neat squares …

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The curious case of Delhi – water-starved but unwilling to vote for water governance

What is the appropriate time and the appropriate scale at which to deal with water issues in a democracy? A Question of Scale Let’s start with scale first. If it is to do with provision (and division) of waters – the answer is to deal with it at high a level as relevant. Consider Delhi …

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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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