TREADS: Transboundary Rivers, Ecologies & Development Studies

TREADs programme encompasses and echoes our research and policy interests in transboundary political ecologies, river water governance and development studies. We are interested in politics and ecologies (relationships) across boundaries – after Neil Smith’s “markers of difference” – at different scales. We pursue our interests in this generic sense of transboundary political spaces, at present focused primarily on transboundary river water governance.

TREADs programme is a cluster of research projects pursuing these research interests. It builds on our earlier work on transboundary river water governance but has taken a consolidated shape with the establishment of the MoJS (Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India) Research Chair – Water Conflicts and Governance at CPR. The Research Chair enables research with policy relevance, for instance, a systematic analysis of India’s interstate river water cooperation record to draw lessons for nurturing and strengthening an ecosystem for interstate river water governance in India. The Research Chair also provides the proximity and avenue for engaging with policy makers.

TREADs programme builds on this opportunity to engage in an expanded scope of transboundary political ecologies, and pursues some critical research and policy questions.

What is the nature of transboundary river water political ecologies? How does this set limits on legal adjudication? What are the other critical elements in addressing transboundary river water governance challenges?
How does interstate river water governance in India shape transboundary river water relations in South Asia?
Why does the Indian Constitution bar courts’ (including the Supreme Court’s) jurisdiction over interstate river water disputes under Article 262 of the Constitution?
Why do the river boards in India get constituted outside River Boards Act 1956 – an Act meant for facilitating interstate river water cooperation?
What does an ecosystem for interstate river cooperation entail: politics, policies, institutions and practices?
What is the nature of India’s water federalism? What are the means to strengthen its federal governance of water?
TREADs cluster of projects also engage with related research interests in federalism and politics of infrastructure development (dams, roads, smart cities, etc). TREADs programme hosts TREAD Talks as part of the CPR-CWC Dialogue Forum. Please refer to the project profiles for more details. You can also reach us at