Book Review : Water reforms and India’s experiences

by Dave

WATER GOVERNANCE IN MOTION— Towards Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Water Law: Edited by P. Cullet, A. Gowlland-Gualtieri, R. Madhaw, U. Ramanathan; Foundation Books, 4381/4, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 875.

This volume, based on select papers presented at two workshops — one held in Delhi in 2006 and the other in Geneva in 2007 — covers the process of reform in two water-related areas in India, namely the legal and institutional frameworks. It also brings in the international dimensions of water law reforms and relates India’s experiences with those of countries such as Argentina, South Africa, and Australia.

Organised in five parts, the book has 18 papers — the introduction apart — from 21 well-known scholars in their respective areas. The key point to be noted here is that most of the legal changes India has witnessed over the past few decades are in specific areas such as user organisation, groundwater, water pollution, water harvesting, and forest conservation. But, there is hardly any movement towards a comprehensive reform of water laws as such.