12 July 2013

Guest Column at Pragati

I am pleased to let you all, my faithful (and patient!) readers, know that I've had a Guest Column published today at the on-line version of Pragati, a publication of the Indian Takshashila Institution. The piece grew from a conversation with my friend Pavan Srinath (also of Know Your Climate and The Transition State) on twitter and by e-mail about dams, disaster mitigation, the recent and tragic monsoon floods in Uttarakhand (and Pavan's own rebuttal to the claims in that story), and the possibly incidental role of Tehri Dam on the Ganga. Here's an opening excerpt:
Water management is a difficult undertaking. Among the most fundamental of human efforts of civilisation is ensuring enough water for our personal, agricultural, commercial, and industrial needs. Growing economies, populations and countries must continually adjust and make progress on their goals for adequate fresh water supply and the protection of life and property. Planners and decision-makers must account for an uncertain future without illusions or biases to cloud their judgment. In India, the monsoon brings life and death annually and scientists still puzzle over the anticipated effects of climate change and its impacts on weather, glaciers, floods, and overall water availability. As illustrated in India’s media following recent floods in Uttarakhand, sometimes water management goals are incompatible and are approached at crossed purposes. It should be recognised that those managing the execution of those plans, from community programs to massive infrastructure works, do only their best with the tools placed at their disposal when emergencies arise.
You can read the entire piece at Pragati: Damming the Floods. I'd also like to express my many thanks to Pragati Associate Editor Sarah Farooqui for her guidance and support.

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