Water and Politics: The power and the fury

Water sustains life: without it, humans cannot survive for more than a few days. And yet this precious fluid is becoming increasingly politicized as the debates about control and ownership of water itself, and of the many organizations which govern its use, gain force. Maggie Black is a writer and editor on watery affairs. She has worked in this capacity for the World Bank, Water Aid, DFID and the EC, and also for the World Commission on Dams, although this assignment came to grief. As a result she visited the Narmada Valley in India where large dams are being famously opposed, and wrote a special issue of New Internationalist entitled ‘Do or die: the people versus development in the Narmada Valley’. Her books include ‘From Handpumps to Health’, (UNICEF); Water: ‘Life Force’ (New Internationalist Publications) and ‘The No-Nonsense Guide to Water’, (Verso and NI); and ‘Water: A Matter of life and Health’, (OUP Delhi)

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