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How India’s Success Is Killing Its Holy River

By Jyoti Thottam / Pipola
Time, Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

In a pine-scented Himalayan valley, Sushila Devi is a reluctant soldier in India’s new war over water. Her village, Pipola, sits just southeast of the Tehri Dam, which bestrides one of the precursors of the Ganges River and is India’s largest hydropower project. Since the dam was completed in 2006, the natural spring that once fed Pipola has dried up. Several times a day, Devi drapes a red sari above her blue eyes, hoists a 2.5-gal. (10 L) brass vessel atop her head and walks to the nearest hand pump. There, she and the other women of Pipola spend two or three hours a day, sometimes more, locked in low-intensity combat. “We have to go to the next village,” she says. “Oh, how angry they get. They fight. We wait.” [more]