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Blood and WaterThe Indus River Basin in Modern History$
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David Gilmartin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285293

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285293.001.0001

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Statute and Custom in Water Law

Statute and Custom in Water Law

Chapter:
(p.104) 4 Statute and Custom in Water Law
Source:
Blood and Water
Author(s):

David Gilmartin

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520285293.003.0004

Conflicting British ideas on the relationship between community and water control were played out in the distinction between statute and custom in water law. The principles of productive efficiency and state ownership of water were enshrined in the Canal Act of 1873. But the importance of forms of community rooted in genealogy and local custom was reflected in the development of a distinctive realm of customary water law. The chapter explores how the intersection of these realms shaped structures of water distribution and labor obligations on canals and also allowed for the development of an important arena of “private” canal construction under the authority of local water lords, acting under the authority of the colonial state.

Keywords:   water law, Northern India Canal and Drainage Act of 1873, customary law, water lords, inundation canals, statute labor

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