Water supply becomes protest weapon in India
Protestors in New Delhi, India, cut off the water supply to millions of citizens for three days at the end of February.
The Jats, a farming group who are upset that they are excluded from quotas for university and government jobs, took control of the Munak canal in the state of Haryana, around February 21. The canal channels water into New Delhi from rivers to the north and supplies about 60 per cent of the city of 16 million. Seven water treatment plants had to be shuttered during the riots, which also resulted in blocked roads, destroyed homes and businesses, and the cancellation of more than 1,000 trains.
Reports pointed out that the crisis showed the vulnerability of the city’s water supply. Many slum and shanty town dwellers have to permanently rely on tainted river water, or truck deliveries. Others draw from groundwater, resulting in a severe decline in aquifer levels.