Story Publication logo November 12, 2009

Wells in Udupi


Media file: water.jpg

In September 2007, the government of Maharashtra, India, invited bids from private companies for the...


Sonali Kudva, Pulitzer Student Fellow

As I did my project, I began to become more aware of the different water issues we face in India. At a large-scale public level, we have problems like privatization, but on a smaller scale, just everyday life sometimes brings with it, its own sets of issues which contribute to the larger global water crisis.

During the course of the summer, I travelled to the state of Karnataka to Udupi. Not the largest of tourist destinations, it is a town adjacent to the university town of Manipal, home to a large university, medical center and very close to the coast of the Arabian Sea.

Houses here are close together, roads are narrow and winding and small tributaries of rivers are plentiful as one travels by road in this area.

I met Kasturi Nayak in Udupi. Hers was a problem with water, but one that is more often going to occur in small overcrowded urban areas where "Municipal" water is scarce, leading to everyone having their own well on their premises.

Wells are not illegal in India and people in a lot of areas have them to supplement the city's scarce water supply.

Kasturi Nayak's story interested me because of the implications it held for rapid unplanned urbanization. This has given rise to incidences of ground water pollution that could lead (as in this case) to criminal charges, even of intent to harm.

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