Rethinking the Mosaic

Posted On: 1999-12-01

From the Ganga in the north to the Cauvery in the south, rivers of South Asia have carried the political, economic and social history of the region with them. These rivers have become intertwined with the hopes and aspirations of the people who live in their basins. Today, water systems in the region are under stress. Growing demands from agriculture, industry and urban growth stretch available supplies while pollution undermines the quality of the resource base. Building the institutions and scientific understanding essential to enable management represents one of the most important challenges facing the region. In many ways, this challenge is one of understanding social change and its dynamics. Approaches to it stem from concepts—either implicit or explicit—regarding the role of different groups within society and of the state, and also why individuals and groups behave the way they do.

The set of papers in this volume represent an initial effort to clarify key elements in debates over the role of decentralized, “local” institutions and the participatory processes necessary to initiate effective water management. This study investigated water management issues of four river basins: the Palar, the Sabarmati, and the Shekhawati in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Rajasthan respectively as well as the Tinau in Nepal that joins the West Rapti in Uttar Pradesh. Water management challenges in the Noyyal and the Bhavani basins of Tamil Nadu were also investigated. In the first three basins, water scarcity is an increasingly grim reality. The fourth river basin was selected to capture the physical diversity of a Himalayan river and to analyse the water management concerns in an area of Nepal and India that is ostensibly rich in water resources but is beginning to confront a situation of stress.

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Manthan ( मन्थन )

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