Water riots in Bangalore

This week a series of riots broke out across the city of Bangalore in response to a dispute with the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. The matter concerns the allocation of water from the Cauvery River, which runs through both states, and which gives sustenance to farmers and ordinary citizens alike on either side of the border. Back in 2013, as per this post at the Wall Street Journal, the Indian government issued an order allocating a majority of water from the Cauvery River to Tamil Nadu. In August of this year, the government of Tamil Nadu appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that Karnataka had yet to fully comply with the original ruling. The Supreme Court, as is its mandate, prodded Karnataka to release more water than it had done the previous few years. Residents of the state, particularly those living in Bangalore, are upset, and, hence, the riots. It is the weekend now, and things seem to be under control. For the time being, at least. 

Regular as they are, these sorts of water disputes are not my domain of study. I don't know enough about the particulars here to make a judgement, one way or the way. But I do have an observation, based on the facts as I know them. While residents in Bangalore are doing what they can to raise awareness of water scarcity in their locales, five-star hotels, golf courses, and other exclusive enclaves have quality water in abundance. It's a point barely ever raised. It is not that these elite spaces pay more for water, either. They don't. The golf courses where I conducted my research since 2007, for example, do not pay market rates on the water they take from tank beds and lakes around the city. Nor did they pay for the pipes that bring the water to the fairways and greens, in the first place.

I write this only as a reminder, then. So much talk of scarcity in the world today--in this case, water scarcity. But somehow, some way the most advantaged in the world get just what they need, and more, often at the expense of taxpayers, who, unawares, pay for it, even as they go without. That's what's going on right now in Bangalore. It's what's going on the world over.