Sambhaavnaa Institute’s Workshop on Troubled Waters: Understanding Water Issues in India [Palampur, June 17-20]: Register Now!


India is one of the world’s most water-stressed countries. As nearly 50 per cent of India already grappling with drought-like conditions, Niti Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (CWMI, 2018) report revealed that 21 major cities (including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad) are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020. Experts predict that this is going to affect access to clean water for 100 million people.

Contemporary government projects, such as providing piped water connections to every Indian household by 2024, indicate a preference for infrastructure building over managing existing water resources. These plans have severe implications for the communities and the ecological balance. Existing policies have failed to eliminate the strong influence that caste, class and religion have on access to water. The CWMI report states that India’s water demand is to be twice the available supply by 2030, implying an eventual six per cent loss in the country’s GDP.

There are different types of water-related conflicts unfolding in the country, which have colourfully been described as “million revolts in the making”. Water quality, inequity in access and inefficiency in use, over-extraction of groundwater are some of the critical issues confronting the water sector. We are already witnessing these through increased droughts and floods, and it is predicted that climate change would only exacerbate matters. However, the water-related policies, legal regimes and institutions don’t engage meaningfully with these issues. We do need a paradigm shift in the way water is conceptualised and how it is managed.

About The Workshop

Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India, India Water Portal, RRA Network and Sambhaavnaa Institute for Public Policy are jointly organizing a workshop on understanding and addressing critical issues in the water sector in the country.

The workshop is designed for those who wish to work or are working on water-related issues, and want to deepen their knowledge about water. This includes activists in various sangathans, struggles and NGOs, academic researchers, environment lawyers, or media persons wishing to report on the subject.

Topics of discussion will include critical dimensions of the current water crisis India, equity and justice in water (caste, gender, and other related themes), water conflicts, emerging developments in water policy, law and regulation. Forward-looking initiatives both legal and institutional in the water sector, like the draft Water Framework Law, Model Groundwater Bill, and the Mihir Shah Committee report on Institutional Reforms will also be discussed.

Additionally, the workshop will explore select issues like dams, irrigation and hydropower, irrigation and food security, water pollution, privatisation and commodification in water, national inland waterways through case studies and field visits.

Dates and Venue

June 17 to 20, 2021 at Sambhaavnaa Institute, VPO – Kandbari, Tehsil – Palampur, District – Kangra, 176061, Himachal Pradesh

Click here to apply.

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Themes that will be discussed over the duration of the workshop:

What is water?

Understanding water in terms of the biophysical and socio-cultural dimensions as these have a bearing on the world view around water and more specifically on the polices, laws and institutions around water.

Strings of Life and Livelihood – Groundwater in India

Institutions, practice and policies which are related to Quantity, Quality and Science and Water Conflicts in India: Nature, Challenges and Way outs. The conventional paradigm of water management and emerging alternative thinking will be discussed as well.

Water and Equity

Water institutions and class, caste, patriarchy, gender, ethnicity, rural-urban; and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) – inclusive of institutions, practice and policies.

Big development – Big Destruction

Large dams, mega hydropower projects, interlinking of rivers and inland waterways. Fieldwork will include a visit to a micro hydropower project to cover topics like Run of River Approach, Water, Livelihood and Institutions.

Identifying the elements of a new paradigm

Restructuring of Water Ministry; Techno-policies of Water Development; Prerequisite of data (information) for Water Governance, Emerging institutional framework in the water sector (Draft Water Framework Law, Model Groundwater Bill, Mihir Shah Committee Report on Institutional Reforms)


With a focus on interactive discussions, there will be lectures and presentations by resource persons, sharing of experiences by participants, film screenings, and field visits spread across all days of the workshop. The venue and structure of the workshop allow ample opportunities for formal and informal interactions.

Language: English and some Hindi

Who this workshop is for?

Individuals working in the water domain independently or with Government or Non-government organisations, students and researchers, environment lawyers, and media persons.

Potential resource persons

  • Ravi Chopra (Dehradun)
  • Shripad Dharmadhikary (Pune)
  • Seema Kulkarni (Pune)
  • Manshi Asher (Palampur)
  • K J Joy (Pune)
  • Himanshu Thakkar (Delhi)

Contact Information

You can also WhatsApp or call Shashank: 889 422 7954 (between 10 AM and 5 PM)