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   Transboundary Water Management
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
31 Jan 2011

Across the fence negotiations

Be it the Ganges, Cauvery or Krishna, sharing river waters across sub-national or international boundaries has remained a formidable challenge. For decades on end, the treaties and tribunals haven’t been able to strike a deal for water sharing amidst warring sub-regions and regions. Quite often such conflicting situations get politicized beyond redemption, forcing popular sentiments to run over cooperative processes.

Yet, there are rivers like Mekong, Nile and Danube, passing through 6, 9 and 10 countries respectively, whose waters has been amicably shared amongst riparian countries. Notable is the fact that despite being culturally and politically diverse, countries in Africa, Europe and East Asia have been able to check politically hazardous conditions from overwhelming the water-sharing principles.

As the name suggests, the book provides an idealized view of how transboundary water management should be done. However, what should happen is not necessarily what does happen in real life. To illustrate the complexity involved in managing water across boundaries, fifteen diverse but successful initiatives from river-basins across the world have been presented. These cases present an experience-based inventory of strategies for transboundary water governance.

Transboundary Water Management is a well-researched book that not only provides the theoretical basis of managing water across boundaries but enlists approaches that have indeed worked too. As water rises higher on the political agenda, with lives of more and more people being either affected by too much or too little water, the book should provide a conceptual framework for planners and politicians to negotiate their compelling concerns.

It is a book of hope that considers transboundary waters a challenge that can be dealt with.

Transboundary Water Management
by Anton Earle, Anders Jagerskog and Joakin Ojendal (Eds)
Earthscan, London; 261 pages, US$ 60

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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