FT.com: India’s precarious water security takes toll on farmers

The early-morning sun was burning mist off his fields as Jitbhai Chowdhury milked his cows. He had half a dozen animals, fed from alfalfa grown on his two hectares.

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Water security also requires water equity and good governance. Instead, there is often a “colossal water anarchy”, as Indian economist Tushaar Shah of the International Water Management Institute described the situation in his home state of Gujarat. In short: water goes to those with the money to drill the deepest wells. Policing backyard pumping is hard. So, on Mr Shah’s advice, state efforts to ration water in Gujarat centre on rationing the electricity to pump. Elsewhere, communities are trying collective water management, raising embankments to channel monsoon rains into small reservoirs or underground to recharge reserves for the long dry season.


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