UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Mobilising for water: hydro-politics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai

Arabindoo, P; (2011) Mobilising for water: hydro-politics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development , 3 (1) 106 - 126. 10.1080/19463138.2011.582290. Green open access

[thumbnail of Mobilising for water - Hydropolitics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai.pdf]
Preview
PDF
Mobilising for water - Hydropolitics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (278kB)

Abstract

In 2003–2004, as the Indian city of Chennai faced an unprecedented water crisis, a debate ensued about finding longer-term sustainable solutions, ranging from expensive desalination plants to modest rainwater harvesting schemes. The latter was enforced by an authoritative state and promoted enthusiastically by environmentalists to raise awareness about the city's much-destroyed hydrological ecosystem. In contrast to the state's interpretation reducing it to a compulsory hydraulic installation in individual buildings, environmental NGOs made a concerted effort to develop a more comprehensive intervention in the wider public domain. However, as a dizzying array of socio-political actors came together, concerns emerged about the ability of such a mobilisation to generate a uniform material understanding of rainwater harvesting as a common moral goal. Examining in detail one specific case study of a community-led effort – Puduvellam – this article looks at how, as a grass-roots organisation involved in the restoration of a prominent temple tank in southern Chennai, it rallied support amongst the local (mainly middle-class) residents to create a new topology of ecological consciousness. Its success, however, was only partial and highlights the futility of romanticising rainwater harvesting as an indigenous alternative. More importantly and ironically, its ineffectiveness was enhanced by the crisis itself as it triggered a process of privatisation and commodification of water, with rainwater harvesting eventually being absorbed by the agenda of ‘bourgeois environmentalism’.

Type: Article
Title: Mobilising for water: hydro-politics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/19463138.2011.582290
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2011.582290
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Arabindoo, P. (2011). Mobilising for water: hydro-politics of rainwater harvesting in Chennai, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 3:1, 106-126 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19463138.2011.582290
Keywords: Chennai, rainwater harvesting, bourgeois environmentalism, middle class residents' associations
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1324303
Downloads since deposit
590Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item