These case studies are from the book "Water Conflicts in India" and were published in the Feb 18th 2006 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly. We are grateful to the authors and EPW for permission to reproduce the case studies here
Two Neighbors and A Treaty Baglihar Project in Hot Waters
Pakistan has objected to several features of the Baglihar hydropower project on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir contending that it violates the Indus Water Treaty. The World Bank, which brokered the IWT, has appointed a neutral expert to resolve the differences. Diplomats fear these developments might cast a shadow on the composite dialogue process as seeking arbitration on the dam means breaking out of the bilateral framework. Click here to Read More
Authors : RAJESH SINHA
Politics and Litigation Play Havoc Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal
The conflict over sharing of the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej waters began in 1966, when Haryana was carved out of Punjab and the new state demanded a share under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, which itself is not recognised by Punjab. Despite numerous interventions by the centre and the Supreme Court, the Sutlej Yamuna canal remains incomplete and a general stalemate prevails. In the midst of this controversy, the main issues facing farmers in the two states remain unanswered – that of inefficient irrigation policies and practices and increasing cultivation of water intensive crops like paddy and sugar cane.Click here to Read More..
Authors : INDIRA KHURANA
Contending Water Uses
Bridge over the Brahmaputra
The island of Majuli on the river Brahmaputra has been under constant threat from floods as well as rising erosion levels. Tension has simmered between development agencies responsible for flood control and the local people who have opposed the structural measures. The proposed Bogibeel bridge has evoked concerns that the conflict will see an escalation. Click here to Read More..
Authors : CHANDAN MAHANTA, ANJANA MAHANTA
Biodiversity vs Irrigation Case of Keoladeo National Park
The conflict over the use of the waters of the Panchna dam for the Keoladeo National Park, in which upstream farmers in the command area of the dam have staged protests, is about rapidly decreasing water supply amidst a growing number of users. There is a need to increase the quantity of available water, though the government's plan to supply chemically-treated drinking water to the park, as part of a larger scheme, will condemn millions of fish, invertebrates and amphibian young to oblivion. Click here to Read More..
Authors : MALAVIKA CHAUHAN
Social Undercurrents in a Water-Scarce Village
Conditions of water scarcity have been aggravated in Vadali village of Gujarat due to the persisting differences between higher castes, chiefly the ahirs, and those lower in the hierarchy such as the kolis and other dalit castes. Power relations are linked to social and economic hierarchy and the issue of resource inequity must be tackled through policy and advocacy measures. Click here to Read More..
Authors : ANJAL PRAKASH, R K SAMA
Equity, Access and Allocations
Conflict in the Bhavani
An increase in population, unplanned expansion in the command area of the river Bhavani in Tamil Nadu and the growing domestic and industrial demand for water have intensified competition among water users in the river basin.Click here to Read More..
Authors : A RAJAGOPAL, N JAYAKUMAR
Discrimination in an Irrigation Project
Rising population and over-exploitation of groundwater for irrigation has aggravated conflict among farmers located at the upper reaches and the tail end of the Palkhed canal system of the Upper Godavari project of Maharashtra. The formation of water users’ associations did alleviate the conflict to some degree, but there continues to be disagreement between the government’s water department and the WUAs on the terms of allocation and other measures.Click here to Read More..
Authors : S N LELE, R K PATIL
Unclogging the Khari River Stakeholders Come Together to Halt Pollution
This case study reports on how the various stakeholders came together to alleviate the problem of effluents discharged by factories in the industrial estates on the eastern periphery of Ahmedabad into the Kharicut canal that flows into the Khari, a tributary of the Sabarmati.Click here to Read More..
Authors : SRINIVAS MUDRAKARTHA, JATIN SHETH, J SRINATH
Pollution through Aqua Culture Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary
After the richer locals leased land/water from the poor cooperatives in the 1970s in Kolleru in Andhra Pradesh, the land has remained in the name of poor “beneficiaries”, while the real fisherfolk work on meagre wages. Ironically, those legally entitled to the benefits have been reduced to wage earners on their own land/water; the rich have not only taken over all the cooperative societies, but have also started illegal encroachments.
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Authors : J RAMA RAO, JASVEEN JAIRATH, P UMESH
Gravity Dam in Trouble Forest Officials Who Missed the Wood for the Trees
The case of the effort to build a small dam in Bhulaveda in Paschim Midnapur district of West Bengal shows that in struggles between government agencies and local self-government, the losers are often the villagers themselves
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Authors : NANDITA SINGH, CHANDAN SINHA
Failure of Community Institutions Shapin River Basin in Jharkhand
This case study focuses on a group of eight villages in Pathargama block of Godda district of Jharkhand, highlighting water use conflicts between and within villages and the failure of community institutions in dealing with them. The outcomes of these conflicts were the depreciation of the resource base, flash floods and fragmentation, and weakening of traditional institutions. The situation can be resolved by augmenting the resource base and focusing on strengthening village institutions. Click here to Read More..
Authors : PANKAJ LAL, KAMALDEO SINGH, KAPILDEO PRASAD
Traditional Water Harvesting Structure Community behind 'Community'
The work of Tarun Bharat Sangh in Rajasthan has received much attention. There is an urgent need though to question development challenges that go overboard in extolling the virtues of greenery without tracing the hands that own the land and harvest the fruits of public money. Click here to Read More..
Authors : PRAKASH KASHWAN
Illegal and excessive sand mining in the riverbed of the Papagani catchment area in Karnataka has led to the depletion of groundwater levels and environmental degradation in the villages on the banks of the river in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
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Authors : M CHANDRASEKHARA RAO
Dams and Displacement
When Multiple Conflicts Overlap Haribad Project in Madhya Pradesh
The Haribad minor irrigation project in Madhya Pradesh is to be built on the boundary of the two villages of Haribad and Sakad on the Kundi river. The project will largely benefit Haribad, while the tribal people of Sakad will lose their land. This is a brief account of the multiple conflicts that have arisen. Click here to Read More..
Authors : REHMAT, SHRIPAD DHARMADHIKARY
Major Loss, Minor Gain Polavaram Project in AP
The Polavaram Project was envisaged to harness the Godavari’s waters for much needed irrigation purposes in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and the drier Rayalaseema region. However, the project remains dogged by controversy because there has been no agreement on the area to be submerged and the rehabilitation package to be offered to the project affected people. Click here to Read More..
Authors : R V RAMA MOHAN
Alternative Restructuring of the Sardar Sarovar Breaking the Deadlock
The Sardar Sarovar Project has been the focus of a long drawn-out conflict between the Gujarat government and experts, on the one hand, and anti-big dam activists, on the other. This is a revisiting of the principles behind an alternative that was articulated 10 years ago, but is still relevant today.Click here to Read More..
Authors : SUHAS PARANJAPE, K J JOY
In Chhattisgarh, a River Becomes Private Property
The Chhattisgarh government handed over a stretch of the Sheonath river to a private company to manage water distribution without setting up independent regulatory authorities that could establish guidelines under which a private firm could manage a common resource. A long lease without a regulatory mechanism can lead to unforeseen circumstances.Click here to Read More..
Authors : BINAYAK DAS, GANESH PANGARE