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Towards More Inclusive Water Management

As much as it is a domestic, agricultural and industrial necessity, water is also a basic human right and should be managed as a public good. However, policy and practice related to water management have failed to create inclusive solutions due to blinkered disciplinary thinking about a resource that plays multiple sociocultural, environmental, economic and ecological roles. It is crucial for decision-makers to engage with interdisciplinary approaches to create truly democratic water systems.

As a fundamentally interdisci­p­linary subject and realm, water needs to be analysed through multiple lenses and managed using a ­capacious toolbox. In order to understand it, comprehension of the hydrological cycle is a prerequisite. Also, decisions on water, land use, agriculture, and sanitation affect each other; these interactions must be appreciated. It is also important to realise that developmental actions are influenced by social, economic, and environmental factors and, in turn, shape these contexts. ­Finally, the interactions between actions taken at different scales—local, national, and international—also need to be ­understood. This makes it evident that an interdisciplinary systems thinking is needed to govern water resources. However, the sector is currently managed in silos by institutions that use reductionist approaches. Ideas of some critical sociological thinkers can contribute to the more inclusive management of our ­water resources and truly ensure water for all.

Critical Thinking

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Updated On : 23rd Jun, 2020

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