Watershed: How We Destroyed India’s Water and How We Can Save It


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Author: Mridula Ramesh

9789391028688 | HB | pp. 432 | 2021 | Hachette India

Watershed by Mridula Ramesh takes us through 4,000 years of history to track how India’s water has reached this critical point.

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India is facing its worst water crisis ever, and some believe that by 2030 it will fail to meet half its water demand. Water availability per person in India has been decreasing for decades, leaving parts of the country in a cruel Day Zero situation, shuttering factories and pushing farmers over the brink. As the climate heats up, it is likely that swathes of land will be submerged, water-related extremes will reshape industry and famine will revisit the country.In this fascinating, deeply researched book Mridula Ramesh takes us through 4,000 years of history to track how India’s water has reached this critical point. From stories of ancient water-engineering marvels in the Indus Valley and Tamil Nadu to how water shaped medieval Delhi; from the burning fields of the country’s north-west to the hilsa’s curtailed journey; and from the forests of Kanha and dams in Arunachal to Kanpur’s tanneries, Watershed uncovers how India’s fate is gradually being sealed by the extremes of drought and floods. Armed with this understanding, Mridula Ramesh lays out pragmatic, scalable solutions that can work for both India’s temperamental water and its democratic exigencies. She describes how determined water warriors are showing the way forward – from the fields of Bihar and Maharashtra to communities within Bengaluru’s apartments and in the arid tracts of Rajasthan – and asserts that managing our water will usher in not just resilience but also the jobs India needs. Sobering and persuasive, Watershed is an urgent call to action to every Indian citizen to do what it takes to secure our shared future.


Mridula Ramesh







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Hachette India





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About the Author

MRIDULA RAMESH is the founder of the Sundaram Climate Institute, which focuses on waste and water solutions and education. She is an active angel investor, with a portfolio of over fifteen start-ups, and is involved in initiatives to build climate resilience. A graduate with distinction from Cornell University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Mridula worked at McKinsey in Silicon Valley before returning to India. Leveraging two decades of management experience, she teaches a postgraduate class on climate change at the Great Lakes Institute of Management. She is the author of the critically acclaimed The Climate Solution and writes regularly on climate issues. Mridula is the executive director of Sundaram Textiles, and lives and experiments in Madurai in a net-zero-waste home with her husband and two children. She is part of the board of trustees of World Wildlife Fund, India, and chairperson of the board of governors at National Institute of Technology, Andhra Pradesh.


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