Damodar Valley Corporation

The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) was created as India’s first post-colonial project in river-basin planning. It was modelled after the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States and has now transitioned not only through changes in approaches to flood management and electricity generation, but also through trade liberalization, climate change, and austerity policies after the 2008 global financial crisis.

This project begins in the archives to understand the central role of water in West Bengal across its numerous dimensions: flood, drought, control, contest, and colonization. It then moves through landscapes of change that have adjusted to regional shifts in monsoons owing to climate change, land-use planning challenges, and changing expectations regarding government-led water management.

This study emerged directly out of research for my recent book. While conducting research I was fascinated to see how competing visions of U.S. water management came to a head in India; even the same individuals went and made their cases in the sub-continent.


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