Water

The Looming Crisis in India

By (author) Binayak Ray

Publication date:

25 July 2008

Length of book:

276 pages

Publisher

Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739126011

Water: The Looming Crisis in India analyzes the key issues in developing national freshwater policies for the mainland countries of the South Asian sub-continent. Ray suggests that freshwater policy must cover all aspects of physical environment and human life, by noting that food and drought management are parts of freshwater policy and acknowledging that water is a scarce natural resource and has economic value. He calls for the development of basin-wide policies to minimize conflicts within riparian countries, as well as a freshwater policy baseline to minimize internal conflicts on water sharing arrangements. By pointing out the need for full participation of all stakeholders in developing a baseline policy including people displaced by the construction of large dams, Ray suggests a new system in which riparian countries are guaranteed that no water-related project proceeds without a transparently developed environmental impact assessment and evaluation of alternative options.
For some time now, the prospect of water scarcity has been an issue of growing international concern, but one which governments, globally and particularly in the Indian sub-continent, have been reluctant to address. Increasingly, however, the social and economic impacts of water shortage are becoming apparent, and their longer-term implications for domestic and international security are attracting attention. Binayak Ray's book provides a timely examination of the major features of the looming crisis in the sub-continent. Drawing on his considerable experience as a bureaucrat, an aid official, and a scholar, Ray details the emerging problems in historical and contemporary context, and discusses appropriate policy responses. His study makes a valuable contribution to debate on this important topic.