The wettest spot on earth has no drinking water! Cherrapunji, in northeast India, epitomises the contradictions of the water scenario on the blue planet. It is reasonable to expect that water should be freely available on a globe where three-quarters of the surface of the planet is covered with water. On the other hand, delivering to human settlements, water of acceptable quality, with reasonable regularity and in adequate quantity, requires investments in infrastructure and management. Irrespective of the amount of water available, these will not be forth-coming unless there are appropriate institutions and corresponding incentives. Given the nature of the public sector water utilities in India, and many places around the world, the scarcity of drinking water in Cherrapunji is not an aberration, but an inevitable consequence of institutional failure. The contributors in this volume analyse the incentive structure of water supply systems. Through a range of case studies from different countries, the authors showcase the wide range of grassroots endeavours to tackle the water situation by the people. The authors explain the phenomenon of de facto water markets already functioning in many parts of the planet. The book calls for a greater appreciation of market-oriented water sector reforms.
Barun Mitra is an engineer; a writer on a wide range of developmental, economic, environmental, and technological issues; and the director of Liberty Institute, an independent think tank based in New Delhi. Kendra Okonski is the director of the environment program at International Policy Network, a London-based development charity, and is the editor and coeditor of several journals, including "Energy and Environment "and" Environment and Health. "She is the author of "Montana: On the Verge of Collapse?"Mohit Satyanand is an entrepreneur, investor, and strategic management advisor, with business interests in food processing, education, and the performing arts. He is the chairman of the board of Liberty Institute.