ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Missing Leg: South Asia's Hobbled Water Technology Choices

The choice of technology in managing water resources is not a dispassionate, cool-headed scientific process: it is an arena of conflict and contestation. Reorienting water resources research in the current changed context of declining foreign aid and increasing social and environmental activism means dealing less with issues of technology per se and more with adoption and adaptation of technology, which becomes more of a social or institutional issue. This essay tries to examine water rights conflicts in two connected geographical locales of south Asia: Bihar and Nepal. Because both areas are part of the Ganga basin, the future of Nepal and Bihar are inextricably linked as far as development, in particular of water resources is concerned. The challenges of water management in the Himalaya-Ganga in the decades ahead will depend, to a large extent, on the kind of statesmanship available to balance all three institutional solidarities - regulatory bureaucracy, innovative market and cautionary activism. The alternative is conflict where no one gets anything except lawsuits, demonstrations, delays, intractable disputes, and even violence.

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