About Lyla Mehta

Research Fellow

Lyla is a sociologist whose work has largely focused on issues concerning knowledge, power, rights and access in natural resource management, addressed through the case of water. Research areas include global and local responses to water scarcity and, more recently, community-led total sanitation. She is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies.

All posts by Lyla

Covid-19 is a stark reminder of the struggle for rights to water and sanitation

On the 10th anniversary of the UN’s recognition of the human right to access water and sanitation, Lyla Mehta and Claudia Ringler reflect on the lessons from Covid-19 and the crucial but neglected links between water, food and health. The writers are among the co-authors of the book Water for Food Security, Nutrition and Social…

A Kharai camel stands with factory chimney stacks behind it on the horizon.

How pastoralists in Kutch respond to social and environmental uncertainty

The TAPESTRY project is working in three different ‘patches’ across India and Bangladesh, creating opportunities for interactions with communities in marginalised environments to co-produce transformative change in sustainable development. In this blog post, Lyla Mehta (IDS), Mihir Bhatt (AIDMI) and Pankaj Joshi (Sahjeevan) introduce the research that TAPESTRY is undertaking together with the Kutch camel…

India’s new citizenship act threatens the country’s constitution

A version of this post first appeared on the Institute of Development Studies website. Since the end of 2019, India has been rocked by protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens Register (NRC). Protests initially began in Assam, West Bengal and New Delhi and have since spread across…

Unpacking uncertainty in times of climate change

By Shilpi Srivastava, Hans Nicolai Adam and Lyla Mehta Climate change undoubtedly is one of the most significant development challenges of our times. Research over the last few decades has demonstrated clearly the links between anthropogenically induced emissions and climatic changes. Despite these scientific advancements, uncertainties persist at multiple scales; with respect to future societal…

water pipe

Water crisis’ disproportionate toll on women can no longer be ignored

STEPS member Lyla Mehta has written an article with Ria Basu for the Indian magazine Firstpost about the impacts of ‘water crisis’ on women. Often, access to water is about power and social relations, not just physical scarcity. For most of us, accessing water is as simple as turning the taps on in our kitchens…

Satellite image of solar farm in China

Green transformations in India and China: who’s in charge?

by Sam Geall, Wei Shen, Lyla Mehta and Peter Newell This is one in a series of four blog posts exploring ideas and case studies on ‘transformations’, drawing on research carried out in 2017 and looking forward to the STEPS Centre’s work in 2018. For background and links to the other posts, read the introduction….

Flooded avenue in Mumbai with only the tops of cars showing above the water

Why Mumbai’s floods are an urban planning disaster

by Hans Nicolai Adam, Lyla Mehta and D. Parthasarathy, Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation project As Houston was inundated by ‘biblical’ rainfall and grapples with extreme flooding and its aftermath, another coastal megacity on the other side of the globe also experienced destructive flooding, albeit on a lesser scale. Within the span of a couple…

Politics of Integrated Water Resources Management in southern Africa

For the past two decades, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been the dominant paradigm in water resources. It is the flagship project of global bodies such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP). It has also been actively promoted by a range of multilateral and bilateral donors which consider it to be the path to address water governance…

Displaced by ‘development’: land, water and protest in Modi’s India

In the Narmada valley in western India, displaced people and activists are protesting against displacement, submergence and the violation of their basic rights. 20 activists, including Alok Agarwal, senior activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement), have been standing or sitting waist-deep in the submergence waters of the Omkareshwar dam in Madhya…