New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 5: An Analysis of a River Dispute: Interaction of Politics and Economics
5.1 INTRODUCTION As the WHO–UNICEF (2004) interim assessment notes, achieving the target crucially depends on increasing access to water and sanitation in large developing countries such as India, China, Brazil and Nigeria. However, in such countries, water sector reform and reallocation of water can entail disputes which could be potentially destabilising. From the WHO–UNICEF interim assessment, it was also seen that the proportion of population with access to water has increased signiﬁcantly in India from 68 per cent in 1990 to 86 per cent in 2000. While India seems to have made an impressive improvement in providing access to water, the decade of 1990–2000 also saw much debate and increased tensions related to water resources in the form of protests against the Narmada, Tehri and other dam projects (Drèze et al., 1997; Baviskar, 1998; Singh, 1998; Dwivedi, 1999; IRN, 2005) and local-level conﬂicts in the form of river-water disputes between states or between local government and multinational softdrink companies (Ravi Raman, 2005). Thus, the macro-level picture is somewhat at odds with the micro-level picture of increased contests over the sharing of waters. This chapter will undertake an in-depth analysis of a river dispute and examine implications for resolving such disputes and sharing water peacefully. To set the context, we begin with a brief summary of the climate of water policy and institutional space in India. Then, a detailed analysis of the Cauvery dispute is presented and ﬁnally some issues with regard to resolving the...
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