Farmers plunge water pumps several hundred feet into the ground and come up dry, forcing them into debt to install something that can dig even deeper. Well-meaning politicians promise salvation by sea wall at the risk of prolonging their town's demise. Governments redirect rivers in the name of ecological balance, when what they're actually doing is building power through the control of water.
Climate change has transformed humanity's relationship with all types of water into one of conflict and desperation, and the decisions people make to deal with this new reality often worsen or prolong the problems in ways that ruin lives and ecologies.
This project will come in three parts, each based in India. For The Baffler, Colin Daileda will examine how farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt and aquifer depletion that forces them to drain their groundwater and their finances. An article in Hidden Compass will describe how a coastal town is trying to save itself with a sea wall, and why that sea wall may only prolong its painful submergence. And for Fifty Two, Daileda will write about how the Indian government may ruin one of the country's most unique ecologies by diverting one river into another.
These stories are the world's present and future. They are stark realities, and they are also harbingers.