Water Rights Imperative in Sustainable Water Management


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"The persistent and widespread symptoms of an imminent water crisis across India are a clear evidence of the failure of our water-related policies and institutions. It is urgent to seek for more durable, but politically harder and technically challenging options such as the institution of a water rights system. Why do we need a water rights system in the first place? What is the status of the issue of water rights in current policy? What are the legal, economic and physical characters and requirements that a water rights structure should satisfy? Do we have enough institutional and technical potential for instituting a water rights system? This article attempts to shed lights on these and related questions.

Why do we need a water rights system?

While legal reforms are needed in all spheres of the environment and natural resources, water reform is particularly urgent in view of the special role that water plays in human survival and progress (Singh, 1991). Water not only caps the absolute needs of human beings (and also of animals, plants, etc.) but also forms the basic input for producing other basic needs such as food and fish products as well as other needs such as power generation and navigation. Since existing water-related laws, polic

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    R Maria Saleth

    Water scarcity in India cannot be tackled without establishing binding water withdrawal limits through a system of enforceable water rights at various scales.

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