Mumbai water protests turn ugly

Police and protesters have clashed over water cuts in the Indian city of Mumbai, leaving one dead and dozens injured.

The city is experiencing sever water shortages and the authorities have imposed forced rationing in water supply in many districts, with cuts of around 15% to 30%.

Many argue that not enough has been done to maintain leaking infrastructure and tackle ‘water theft’ – people tapping into the mains without permission.

Officials say the restrictions are in place because of bad weather rather than bad management, with a poor monsoon proving a drain on reserves.

They want to keep restrictions in place until the next monsoon, with monsoon season typically running from June to September.

More than 5,000 protesters gathered outside the offices of the municipal body responsible for water supply but were beaten back by police with sticks.

One protester died during the clashes, though police are denying responsibility and it is unclear whether the victim died in the crush, from injuries inflicted by batons or other causes.

Conflict over water is expected to rise around the world as climate change makes supply less predictable and drought and flash flooding become more common.

Sam Bond

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