This document by CASUMM contains the proceedings of a workshop on water sector and reforms, organised at Mysore, on the 17th of November 2007.
The workshop was organised in response to the implementation of two water supply projects in Bangalore and Mysore as a part of the Water Sector Reforms under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and the increasing trend of privatisation under the water sector reforms in cities like Bangalore and Mysore.
It was felt that there was a need to raise awareness among citizens and groups in Bangalore and Mysore regarding the implications of privatisation and the mechanisms through which privatisation was being introduced in the cities in India.
The workshop raised the following issues:
- The lack of access to information among the common public on the mechanisms and processes through which privatisation was being implemented in the states.
- The lack of transparency in relation to the implementation of the privatisation projects.
- The need for involving government officials in the process of information sharing on the privatisation projects implemented in the cities.
- The commodification of water leading to lack of access of the poor to adequate and safe water.
- The need for the common public to raise their voices and question the assumptions implicated in the privatisation process.
- The limitations of the 24X7 water provision schemes that involved hugh investment costs that were finally passed on to the common public in the form of high tariffs, making water a marketable commodity, the citizens consumers and fundamental rights as services, which remained accessible only to a selected few who could afford to pay.
- The need to question and resist privatisation since privatisation could further aggravate the water crisis through overexploitation of water. When access to water was determined by the market and not by limits of renewability, the water cycle could be systematically violated and the chances of the water crisis could further deepen.
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