First, the taps dried out.

The tourist who brought in revenue was suddenly a social pariah. Warm smiles quickly turned into direct rebukes. The price of drinking water skyrocketed. Schools shut down. Slowly, the town emptied out.

This isn’t some dystopian drama on Netflix. This was the summer of 2018 in the erstwhile summer capital and the north Indian hill station favourite, Shimla.

In many ways, Shimla is a petri-dish problem that reflects the larger issue. It has all the ingredients of a crisis—drying aquifers, old leaky infrastructure underground and a sluggish utility provider that woke up a tad late.

AUTHOR

Olina Banerji

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

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