Violent clashes broke out last week after India's Supreme Court ordered the state of Karnataka to share water with neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Millions of people rely on the Cauvery River, which spans both states, for their water supply.

Tamil Nadu accuses Karnataka of holding on to more than its share, while Karnataka says its neighbour seeks more than it's entitled to. The dispute dates back more than a century and comes amidst a national water crisis fueled by factors including a booming population, mismanagement, water-intensive industrial use, and climate change.

An estimated one billion Indians face water scarcity for at least a month each year, 180 million year-round. Contaminated water sources from sanitation and agricultural runoff cause health problems nationwide. Unsafe water leads to an estimated 21 percent of India's communicable diseases, and some 48 million Indian children suffer from stunted growth, a world high. On this episode of the Stream, we'll explore India's water wars and how they fit into bigger questions surrounding access to our most vital natural resource.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Janakarajan Srinivasan
Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies

Leo Saldanha @leofsaldanha
Coordinator, Environment Support Group

Aman Sethi @amannama
Journalist and author

Mandakini Surie @mdevasher
Senior Program Officer, Asia Foundation

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