We have collated Case Studies on topics like Transboundary Disputes, Contending Water Uses, Water Quality, Micro-level Disputes and more.
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One of the important, emerging areas of conflict is around drinking water impacting on the lives of both rural and urban population. Though the National Water Policy, 2002 and the various state water policies accord first priority to drinking water amongst various water uses, we are all aware that meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of providing safe and adequate drinking water to all is a distant dream. Coupled with this there are reports and anecdotal information about increasing conflicts around contending water uses including drinking water. Drinking water vs. agriculture is an example of this. Some of the studies and reviews of watershed experience bring out the fact that the increased water due to watershed efforts is being increasingly utilised for irrigation at the expense of drinking water. Sometimes the reverse is also true. For example water stored in reservoirs, primarily meant for agriculture purposes, is being diverted to cities to meet the increasing urban needs. Similarly there have been also cases in which industries have been extracting groundwater at the expense of both drinking water and agriculture. There are many other layers or dimensions to the conflict around drinking water. Water quality has become a serious issue of contention especially with the polluting industries.
Dumping of untreated sewage into streams and water bodies and non-point sources like agro-chemicals (both fertilsers and pesticides) are also equally responsible for the decreasing water quality. Increasing trend towards privatisation of provision of drinking water especially in the cities and the sectoral reform programme in the case of rural drinking water supply are also said to be hiking the water charges for the users. Of course there is also the condition that is being imposed about sharing of capital costs, recovery of full operation and maintenance cost (O&M) as part of the sectoral reforms. Thus one can say that the conflicts around drinking water is multi-facetted and multi-layered and there is a need to understand them if we have to move towards their resolution.
Keeping the above background and context in mind we would be grateful if the members of the community can participate in the discussions and share their experience and insights around the issue of conflicts around drinking water. More specifically the members can write on: