Why do interstate water disputes emerge and recur?

RULNR monograph series

In this paper, I examine, critically, interstate water disputes in India for a comprehensive understanding of their anatomy – the making of disputes. I pursue some fundamental questions: Why do interstate water disputes emerge and recur? What factors contribute to their (re)making? What are the politics in their (re)making, to what end, and what are their implications?

My central contention here is that our failure to understand the problem in its entirety has obscured the search for solutions. In pursuing this line of argument, I show that the interstate water disputes emerge and recur due to their particular anatomy produced by three sets of characteristics: first, legal ambiguities; second, antagonistic politics – a making of the nexus of water politics and democratic politics; and third, due to their political ecology of asymmetries – deeply embedded as historically and geographically constructed.