Sustainable Water Solutions

Scarcity in Abundance: Addressing Drinking Water Woes in Flood-prone Zones in North Bihar

As called for in agreements between India and Nepal on the tributaries of the Ganga River such as the Sarada (1920 and later included in the Mahakali Treaty 1996), the Koshi (1954) and the Gandak (1959), barrages...

Two Water Manifestos of the 1990s

South Asia's waterscape faces worrying trends in public health, infrastructure development, and climate change, posing major challenges for the people and governments. Here we present two documents, produced in the mid-1990s, that had already identified...

Valuing Water from a Transboundary Perspective in South Asia

Transboundary water governance in South Asia is often described as a “wicked problem” — a problem that is nearly impossible to solve — because of its inherently contradictory and changeable nature, one which makes solutions difficult to identify...

Building the Green City of the Future: Inclusive Technologies and Inclusive Materials

Humans began building houses to keep rain, moisture, wind, heat, and cold out and to keep themselves safe from other animals. As we evolved and moved to cities, we began to pave the ground with...

A Reflection on South Asian Rivers

Rivers are creations of nature and living entities. From its origin to its end in a sea, a river connects landscape, boulders, sand, silt, aquatic beings, and humans. Rivers and water bodies like ponds, lakes, streams, groundwater, and oceans are intrinsically linked...

Localizing the Integrated Water Resource Management Approach

As somebody who was born and raised in an urban setting and had the privilege of running water at home, I had little appreciation of the difficulties people in rural areas faced in terms of getting safe drinking water. Since 2004, however...

Do Not Blame the Water

It was the evening of July 11, 2013. I was in a guest house in Dhaka waiting for a rented car to arrive to take me to a social gathering organized by friends of my university years. It was raining heavily. In fact, in the 36-hour period between 6 a.m. on July 11 and 6 p.m. on July 12, 114 mm of rain fell on...

Reflections on Floods, Droughts, and Irrigation

It is said that the human race started growing grains about nine thousand years ago. If that is so, our ancestors might have shed their nomadic pattern of life and begun sedentary living in a particular place, one no doubt near a river offering...

Rivers, Habitats and Biodiversity: Foundations for Sustainable River Management

Rivers are not just flowing waters but a longitudinal continuum of WEBS (water, energy, biodiversity, and sediment). They are complex ecosystems where thousands of organisms interacting with instream water, mineral habitats, and...

What Have I Learned About Water

Ajaya Dixit, a friend, colleague and a mentor approached me the other day to ask me to write a short piece reflecting upon the journey we’ve had as South Asian water researchers. It turned out to be a harder enterprise than I had imagined. There are so many places I have been to intellectually, with water...

Exploring the Need for Improved Communication between Research Organizations and the Government: A Case from Uttarakhand, India

The gap between research and implementation has been a constant mulling point in academia. Traditionally, researchers/research organisations publish their work, which mostly remains restricted...

Rethinking Transboundary Water Governance

Regional and transboundary water conflicts within and between nations are widespread all over the world, but such conflicts are not always a priority issue in the political agenda of the various governments that share a waterscape. In almost all countries in South Asia...

Weathering Ecological Disruptions

In its 2019 assessment, the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development suggested that a rise in average global temperature of 1.5°C by 2100 would mean that the Hindu Kush Himalayan region would be warmer by around 1.8° C. In this scenario, the study continues, the glacier...

The Increasing Heat: An Unfolding Disaster in South Asia

It is hard to overstate the impact that heat will have on South Asia. Poorer health, reduced human and agricultural productivity (and the resulting decreases in income), less efficient power generation, and increased urbanization, internal and external migration, among its...

Holistic Approach for Integrated Water Governance

Over the last several millennia, river basins have been the cradles of many human civilizations. That dependence continues today. However, with economic growth becoming the paramount objective of the present uses of water,  river basins have become an open playing field for a...

Water Challenges in South Asia

Some of the most pressing problems facing South Asia’s waterscape relate to worrying trends in public health, infrastructure development, and climate change. These trends exacerbate already-existing threats that plague South Asia: flooding, water scarcity, groundwater overdraft, pollution, degradation of rivers...