In troubled waters: water commodification, law, gender, and poverty in Bangalore
The project of privatisation of water has been floated in Bangalore since 1999, and though it has been kept in abeyance by social activists and non-government organisations working with the urban poor, water is being commoditised. In this article, I examine the impact of this process on the struggles of poor women to access water for themselves and their dependants, in a slum rehabilitation area in Bangalore. Women are resisting the monetisation of water, which they consider to be a human right. While the advantages of the technologies that accompany this process are emphasised by the authorities – piped water is seen as saving time and increasing mobility, as well as delivering a higher-quality resource – women retort that the requirement to pay for water outweighs any benefits, and other material realities of life still bind them to their homes.
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