Downstream of the dam: Uses and meanings of water in the Sardar Sarovar project, Gujarat, India

2017 Aug 28, Monday
Room 616, 6th Floor, Pixel B (Azim Premji University)

About the Lecture
In this presentation I report on explorative fieldwork in the Sardar Sarovar Project command area in Gujarat, India. The research project in the making will look at the uses and meanings of water that is being released into Gujarat from the Narmada dam. While the canal infrastructure was originally primarily designed for irrigating 1.7 million hectares of agricultural land, priorities for water use have changed in the past two decades of liberalisation. A large pipeline infrastructure for domestic water supply is being constructed to bring Narmada water to towns and villages across Gujarat. Industry has become an important water user. A Sabarmati riverfront has been created in Ahmedabad with Narmada water. Agriculture is still by far the largest water user, leading to regionally specific intensification processes. In addition, the Narmada water imaginary has had an influence on Gujarat (development) policy well before the water arrived. The paper attempts to develop a cultural political economy perspective on the emerging SSP waterscape. 

About the Speaker
Peter P. Mollinga was trained as an irrigation engineer at Wageningen University, the Netherlands; his PhD is on the political economy of irrigation water management in South India. He is Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK, where he also initiated the Centre for Water and Development. He is one of the three founding editors of Water Alternatives. An interdisciplinary journal on water, politics and development. His research fields are water governance and water politics, agrarian change and technology, and inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to natural resources management. His geographical focus is Asia, particularly South Asia and Central Asia.