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Water & Devevelopment

Water & Development: Forging Green Communities for Watersheds by Arun DeSouza, May 2010. ISBN 978-81-250-3992-
1; 340 Pages Hardback; Price: Rs 595.00/US$ 34.95

This book shows how watershed development projects intervene in people’s lives and the ways in which an entire community gets reconstructed around the implementation of a new resource. It challenges the popular view that rural communities are an unchanging entity, steeped in tradition and economically stagnant. The author deconstructs these preconceived notions through which rural India is perceived and establishes how a community, far from being static and autonomous, is fluid and changing.

In analyzing the processes involved in bringing together a heterogeneous group of people for a common cause, the study raises pertinent questions – is the mere fact of ‘scarcity’ enough to motivate them to come together? Can scarcity enable them to put aside their differences and invent a new method to conserve and manage their available water? Explaining the dynamics engaged in it, the author focuses on: The way narrating a myth helps build a community, creates a utopian space of united action and solidarity – one that transcends class-caste-factional divisions. The everyday political practices of the village and its relationship to the wider polity of the village and the state where factionalism is not just a divisive factor but also builds and sustains complex relationships. The image that a community portrays to outsiders who visit the village where all forms of contestations and plural interpretations are swept aside to present themselves as a distinct group with a sense of a ‘we’ feeling. The village community is, thus, forged in a relationship with the present and lives in continuity with its past. It is intricately linked to the larger processes (both global and local) beyond its boundaries – be it the global green movement, the changing aid policies, or the state’s present efforts to encourage NGOs to work with the government

Water, Agriculture & Sustainable Well-Being by Unai Pascual,
Amita Shah and Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, 2009. ISBN:
9780198061755, 360Pages. Hardbound Price: RS 750.00

Moving towards a more holistic view of ecosystems has become crucial to environment debates and shifting policy thrusts. This collection of scholarly articles spans various issues pertaining to water resource management and agricultural practices. While analysing the trade-offs between growth in agriculture and environmental sustainability, the volume focuses on the balance between private benefits and sustainable development, growing demand–supply gaps, inter-sectoral allocation and pricing of water, and trade and environment. Context-specific issues such as arsenic contamination in India and Bangladesh, and farmers’ suicides in Andhra Pradesh are examined in this book

Water and Agricultural Sustainability Strategies
Edited by Manjit S Kang, March 2010; ISBN: 9780415572194; 356
pages; Hardback Price: $119.95.

While enhancing water-use efficiency (WUE) is a major goal in irrigated agriculture, drought management is the principal strategy to enhance production from rainfed agriculture. Management, conservation, and recycling are crucial to sustainable use of water resources in both irrigated and rainfed agriculture. The challenge of enhancing WUE is moreover confounded by the severe problem of water quality either because of high concentration of naturally occurring salts in the aquifer or due to pollution and contamination by urban, industrial, and other anthropogenic activities.

This book covers the following aspects related to water management:

–Use of water management strategies to achieve agricultural sustainability under the current scenario of water scarcity;

–Use of the four kinds of natural waters, i.e., rainwater, surface water, groundwater, and soil moisture (soil water) as well as irrigation drain water, municipal and industrial wastewater, to promote agricultural sustainability. How irrigation with groundwater polluted with arsenic and industrial water could lead to toxicity in crops, and how to avoid/prevent/phytoremediate this;

–Water management in different agroclimatic environments, with particular reference to dryland/rainfed agriculture;

–Biotechnological applications to develop crop varieties and agronomic practices that endow crops with drought tolerance and greater water-use efficiency.

Managing Water in River Basins – Hydrology, Economics, and
Institutions by M. Dinesh Kumar; ISBN 9780198065364, Hardback;
June 2010; Rs. 795.

Managing water resources effectively is one of India’s prime concerns today. This book provides an in-depth analysis of existing methods of water management and highlights the gaps in the use of water in various river basins. Underlying the futility of ‘quick fix’ solutions, it puts forward various alternative strategies for water management.

Using illustrative case studies, the author lists major challenges in water management—productivity improvement in key-use sectors, inter-sectoral allocation, trans-boundary resource management, and availability in deficient regions. Highlighting the opportunities for improving water productivity in agriculture, he also provides methodologies for generating country- and regional-level water balance scenarios.

The volume also discusses the problems involved in allocating water in river basins. Kumar gives a detailed account of some of the widely known economic tools. He examines the institutional and policy measures for ensuring sustainable use of water and economic growth, including the creation of new organizations.