The Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) in collaboration with India Observatory, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), London organised a two day Workshop on “Domestic Water Governance in India” during August 12 – 13, 2016, under the UGC-UKIERI [UK-India Education and Research Initiative] programme.
The inaugural session was chaired by Prof. K. K. Mishra, Dean School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad. Prof. Mishra highlighted the changes that have taken place in the water sector from perceiving it as a free and important natural resource necessary for sustenance of life on earth to considering it as a commodity. In this changed circumstances of commodification of water, providing safe drinking water to all remains a challenge, which we have to deal with in a careful manner. Focusing on water scarcity, Dean School of Social Sciences, mentioned that if at all there will be a third world war, there is quite possibility that it will be on the issue of water.
Prof. B P Sanjay, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, UoH highlighted the fact that in the name of achieving efficiency, basic services like water and education are being privatized. However, the empirical realities prove that privatization of these services has hardly improved the situation at a larger level. Prof. Sanjay also reiterated the topical relevance of the workshop, and pointed out that water scarcity has emerged as the real challenge even at our University level, where we were forced to reschedule our academic calendar because of water scarcity.
Dr. Satyapriya Rout, Department of Sociology, UoH and Principal Investigator of UGC-UKIERI Project introduced the themes of the workshop. Dr. Rout stressed that what really determines access to water is neither availability of water nor financial investments in water infrastructure; but the institutional arrangements for governance of water. He pointed out that availability of water resources and financial resources/investment may be necessary to provide access of water to all, but they are not sufficient conditions. What really counts is the institutional arrangements, which for efficient, equitable and sustainable access to water.
The inaugural session closed with a vote of thanks by Dr. C. Raghav Reddy, Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad. The workshop is being attended by Pro. Ruth Kattumuri, Co-Director, India Observatory, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), London, UK.
-By Dr. Satyapriya Rout, Department of Sociology