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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