Water management across space and time in India – A working paper by the University of Bonn

This paper links development of water management and its practices with social, religious, economic development with the rise and fall of the ruling regime.

This working paper by the University of Bonn attempts to give a spatial and temporal overview of water management in India. It traces how people and the successive regimes made choices across space and time from a wide range of water control and distribution technologies. The paper divides the water management in India into four periods –

  • the traditional system of water management before colonial times;
  • response from the colonial rulers to manage the complex socio-ecological system;
  • large scale surface water development after independence; and
  • finally, the small-scale community and market-led revolution.

An attempt has been made to describe the water management over the four periods, which has transformed the irrigation and water management scenario in India. The paper shows how development of water management and its practices are linked with the social, religious, economic development with the rise and fall of the ruling regime. While these different periods attempt to manage water in different ways, the paper reveals a gap in research towards understanding the ability of community to integrate by default these diverse technologies to achieve their social goal of survival.

Water management has been a contentious and tricky affair in India due to socio-economic-political and ecological reasons. Collective action is transformed into private collaboration for local elites in their continuous search for acquiring power to control. Understanding how different policies and programs influence water management at the community level is one of the unexplored issues.

Its further examining will offer insights on the ability of the community to integrate different programs and policies by default given their complex livelihood requirements. It would invite and stimulate new inquiries emanating from policy makers, civil society, academia and institutional apparatus of state.

 

Regions

Subscribe to <none>