Water as an ethic: three ways of talking about water, rights, and conflicts

Publication Type:

Book Chapters


Sharing blue gold: locating water conflicts in India, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, p.1–12 (2015)




We remember growing up in social milieus in which regular access to water was not guaranteed. Till, say, ten years back, growing up in small towns and villages in Karnataka and Odisha meant that even playing with water was a taboo. If a drop of water got split on the floor, or on the dining table, and a child started drawing something with it, immediately she would have been admonished by an elder, especially by the grandparents. This was because of a folk belief that playing with water resulted in droughts was still strong then. The need to conserve water was deeply embedded in the strictures and taboos that governed everyday life.


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