Water rights, equity and justice in a periurban context_Vishal Narain


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Whose water ? Whose land ? Water rights, equity and justice in a periurban context

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Water rights, equity and justice in a periurban context_Vishal Narain

  1. 1. Whose water ? Whose land ?Water rights, equity and justice in a periurban context Vishal Narain
  2. 2. Overview of paper• Conceptualizing periurban• Significance of studying periurban water issues from a water justice perspective• Research design and context: the growth of Gurgaon city• The case studies of Budheda and Sadhraana• Inferences and discussion from a water justice, equity and rights perspective
  3. 3. Conceptualizing periurban• No consensus definition• As a place – Villages around cities – Most commonly used connotation of the term• As a process – Process of transition from rural to urban• As a concept – An analytic construct to study rural-urban relationships and flows of goods and services
  4. 4. Features of periurban• Mixed and changing land use – Agricultural lands, mining, farmhouses of urban elite, conservation and recreation centers• Natural resources under stress: land acquisition for urban expansion, receive urban wastes• Social heterogeneity and flux• Erosion of social capital – Migration, acquisition of CPRs
  5. 5. Why do periurban areas need attention?• Urbanization a fact of life in the developing world• Periurban areas will grow in importance; will shape the nature of urbanization processes• Receive scant attention because of fragmentation between rural development and urban planning
  6. 6. Emerging interests among periurban water scholars in South Asia• Sewerage water for agriculture• Rural-urban water conflicts• Chasm in water access between core and peripheral areas• Potential of multiple stakeholder platforms• Industrial water pollution lowering agricultural productivity• Limited attention to issues of water justice or the relationships between water rights, equity and access
  7. 7. Research context: the growth of Gurgaon city• Projected as a millenium city• Major outsourcing hub of northwest India – most preferred outsourcing and high-tech destination in North India• Drawn a large number of MNCs and corporates – Hero Honda, Maruti, Alcatel, IBM, General Electric, Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola• Visual landscape – tall skyscrapers co-existing with village settlement areas and agricultural fields• Frontiers of the city still expanding – 56 residential sectors exist, another 56 on the anvil – enormous implications for water and land resources
  8. 8. The growth of Gurgaon city• Three major reasons behind its growth – proximity to the national capital and international airport – initiatives of state government • policies for SEZs (special economic zones) – real estate boom since the 1980s
  9. 9. Periurban water issues in Gurgaon• Falling water tables: – 70% of Gurgaon’s water needs are met through groundwater• Rural-urban water conflicts – farmers breaching the Gurgaon channel that brings water to the Basai Water Treatment Plant• Rural-urban water flows – water tankers a common sight – groundwater used for irrigation now transported for nurseries to cater to urban residents• Urban-rural water flows – sewerage irrigation common in periurban Gurgaon• Pre-emption of water by farm-houses using expensive technologies, depriving locals of access• Drying of lakes and water bodies
  10. 10. The research questions• How does urbanization affect water use and access of periurban residents ?• How do they adapt to the changes in water availability as a result of the above processes ?• What are the implications for water access, equity and justice ?
  11. 11. Research location and design• Two villages – Budheda and Sadhraana – Periurban Gurgaon• Qualitative research design /ethnographic approach – case study method – semi-structured interviews with residents – key informant interviews – focus group meetings – direct observation – secondary sources of data
  12. 12. Sadhraana Village• Population of 3500 people – 425 households• Ahir, Pandat, Rajput, Lohaar, Nai, Harijan, Balmeek• Major crops grown – wheat, mustard, sorghum, pearl-millet, vegetables and lentils• No irrigation canal or sewage based irrigation – only groundwater
  13. 13. Land use change over the last two decades• Gradual Process of land use change – 80 acres acquired for the Sultanpur National Park – 600 acres sold off to farm-houses – 150 acres acquired for Reliance SEZ• Left with about 40% of the net cultivated area recorded in the 1960s• Land and water appropriated by the urban elite
  14. 14. Major pressures on groundwater• Tubewells dug for Sultanpur National Park• Farm-houses major appropriator of groundwater – extract water using high powered submersible pump- sets not affordable by locals – acquire the land over the ‘fresh’ groundwater – transport water over 3-4 km to their farm-houses using underground pipes when the farm-houses are located over saline groundwater • Results of a legal framework and water rights structure that is inequitable
  15. 15. Impacts of growing pressures– Fall in water table over last decade • 60 ft to 100 ft • 20 ft to 60 ft– Farmers accessing saline groundwater • unfit for agriculture and livestock– Small and marginal farmers unable to afford the high costs of extraction • a submersible pump-set: Rs 100000 to Rs 125000
  16. 16. Adaptation to water scarcity• Technological adaptation – From lao chedas, rainth to tubewells and submersibles • small and marginal farmers left out – Use of sprinklers • water scarcity • Sandy soil and undulating terrain • less labor-intensive irrigation technologies• Leave land fallow• Take only one crop per year• Switch to rain fed crops• Buy water based on social relations – Social capital eroded in periurban areas
  17. 17. Budheda• 725 households and 5500 people• Rao saab, Jaat, Nai, Dhobi, Khaati, Jogi, Harijan, Balmeek, Kumbhaar, Ahir and Pandat• Crops grown – wheat, mustard, sorghum, pearl-millet, vegetables• Many sources of irrigation depending on location of fields – tubewells/submersibles/ urban sewage
  18. 18. Land use change: bearing theecological foot-print of urbanization• Major source of land to supply water to the city: – 129 acres of land for a WTP for Gurgaon city • 30 acres in a second round of acquisition • 12 acres of grazing land for the same plant – Livestock dependent village with strong reliance on grazing lands – 17 acres for each of the two canals to carry water for WTP at Basai – Left with just about a fourth of its net cultivated area
  19. 19. The rural-urban water nexus• The Gurgaon Water Supply Channel passes through the village to carry water to Basai WTP for Gurgaon city – source of opportunity and conflict – raised local water table – pipe outlet installed for village pond – tube wells installed to benefit from water table rise • Had to be removed when the NCR channel was dug • Highlights vulnerability of farmers to uncertain water supply
  20. 20. Use of urban wastewater• The Gurgaon Jhajjar canal passes through the village, carrying the city’s waste – Untreated sewage • Rich in nutrients, removes the need for costly application of fertilizers and water pumping – Farmers irrigate paddy and wheat • Pay irrigation department for its use – Results in conflicts on account of over irrigation – Long-term adverse health effects – Now the only source of irrigation with the removal of tubewells • Highlights vulnerability to an uncertain water supply
  21. 21. The gender implications• Sadhraana – Intersection of caste and gender – A pandaton ka gaon, Vashisht women do not collect water – Falling water tables and eroding social capital hit lower caste women• Budheda – As source of water, fuelwood and fodder become more distant, reversal of gender-based division of labour – Often carried by men on their bikes newly acquired from the sale of land
  22. 22. Wider implications for discourses on water rights and equity• Urbanization processes sustained by a process of land acquisition from peripheral areas – This will be a fact of life in South Asia in the coming years• Rights to water are tied to rights in land – With land gone, so is water – Much media attention on land acquisition, but not so much on changing water access• Water insecurity is tied to insecurity of land tenure• Implicit in planning processes – certain assumptions about who these cities are meant for – Politics of urban planning
  23. 23. Implications for governance• Current processes of urbanization bear well neither for equity nor for sustainability – Cities growing beyond the carrying capacity will compromise periurban residents’ access to water• As urbanization advances, periurban areas (and issues) will rise in significance• Rural-urban conflicts over water will increase – seeing “rural water supply” and “urban water supply” as distinct conceptual and planning entities, ignoring the relationships between the two
  24. 24. To conclude…• Periurban water issues constitute a ripe area for water justice research in South Asia – Issues will increase in significance• Need for research, advocacy and capacity- building will grow• Areas for research – Politics of urban planning – Understanding institutional relationships – Dimensions of periurban water (in) security – Identifying the most vulnerable groups