Urbanisation

Dhobi Ghat

Laundry services

  The Dhobighat community downstream of Mussoorie provides laundering services to the upstream town’s schools, hotels and government institutions. Washing is done along a natural stream which flows through the settlement, first inhabited by the dhobi (washing) community over 80 years ago. The livelihood of the dhobi community depends on clean, fast-running water. In recent times, they have been asked by local government to “share” their stream with other nearby settlements. This has given rise to a decline in water flow to the community, as well a breakdown in communal water-collection activities, disrupting both physical flows and social interactions. With youth out-migration and the advent of mechanised washing machines, the demand for washing services is declining, so these livelihoods look increasingly vulnerable.

Palamur

Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, India

Palampur is a small town of less than 15 000 people that lies at the feet of the Dhauladhar mountain range in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh. The Dhauladhar mountains are covered in snow through the year; the melt from its glaciers and snow feeds numerous springs, streams and rivers that flow down to settlements like Palampur. The surrounding countryside has a system of still-maintained kuhl channels used for irrigation and farming. Palampur town and households obtains its water mainly from the Neugal River through a piped pumping system; the Neugal also has numerous hydro-power interventions along its length. The oldest source of water lies to the north of the town and comes from a spring named Bohal, located beneath a forest. Our research partners...

Bagmati River Project

Kathmandus Holy River

Alberto Rey was approached to consider doing a  project about the Bagmati River that flows though the middle of Kathmandu, Nepal. The Bagmati is the most sacred river in Nepal and yet it is also the most polluted. Alberto was excited about starting a new environmental project in Asia and about working with a region with several UNESCO heritage sites and a community with a rich cultural heritage. After initial discussions with professionals, museum staff and community members in Kathmandu, it was clear that there was a great deal of interest in having me starting the new project investigating the Bagmati River. Alberto was granted a residency at the Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Center a few months later, and my research began in earnest. Jason Dilworth,...

Negotiating and Implementing a RWA in Palampur, India

Reciprocal Water Access (RWA) Agreement

Central Palampur derives around 10% of its water supply from a spring just to the north of the settlement. The origins of the spring lie beneath a forest that has in the recent past been harvested and degraded to a significant degree through the herding and fuelwood needs and actions of the inhabitants of three hamlets just upstream of Palampur. During these periods of intensive forest extraction, flowing water quantities declined towards the centre of town. In order to address the suspected link between forest use and water flows, local NGOs and researchers teamed up to address the land use and community issues that were leading to the over-extraction of forest products. In order to do this, the Municipal Council (MC) was brought on...