India: Water Wars Starting Decades Ahead Of Predictions

Via Ecoworldly, a tragic & sobering look at how rainfall patterns — altered by climate change — and inequities in the water distribution system have led to a water crisis in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.  As the article notes, this has led to a spurt in water related violence and conflict, the intensity of such which was not predicted to take place for the next 50 years:

“…a mob of about six people killed a family for illegally drawing water from the municipal supply even as onlookers rushed back and forth to collect water before the pipe ran dry.

The incident, which occurred in a below poverty line (BPL) settlement, is yet another validation of how climate change is having much more impact on the poor, especially in the developing world.

Since 2008, the duration and frequency of rainfall in major parts of the state of Madhya Pradesh has been very scanty. Water levels in all major water bodies in have fallen to alarming levels. As a result, most parts of the state including the capital city of Bhopal is receiving almost half of the volume of water required to fulfill the population’s needs. The poor are the most impacted and drinking water is being supplied only about once every 4-5 days in the slums and other poorer localities

There is a simultaneous increase in the number of violent clashes and over 50 of them have been reported in just the capital city in the month of May. Media reports suggest that since January over 12 people have been killed and dozens other injured mostly fighting over a bucket of water. And such fights are becoming more frequent and of regular occurrence. The situation has also severely impacted the public health and safety system.

While on one side our world leaders and policy makers have not even understood the linkages between climate change and poverty, or have not even been able to do enough to bridge the gap between the rich who pollute and the poor who pay the price with their life, the price is but being paid each passing day. Environmental equity and social justice today are no doubt bold words but spoken much more than implemented.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 11:57 am and is filed under India.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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