Declining water quality has become a global concern as human populations grow, industrial and agricultural activities expand, and climate change threatens to cause major alterations to the hydrological cycle. While much is known about the quality of water in our rivers and the possible sources of pollution, there is little understanding of the socio-economic impact of this pollution, especially on the riverine communities.

The limited studies which are available on this topic miss out on capturing the voices of the local communities who are most affected by river pollution. Keeping this in mind, this social study was undertaken with 90 members of the riverine communities of River Yamuna in Delhi, which contributes nearly 76 per cent of the pollution load in the river.

This report is an outcome of the study conducted by the Water-to-Cloud project supported by the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago.

The report attempts to demonstrate the interwoven nature of river water quality, health and livelihood, revealing the way each aspect is related to one another. It also attempts to make a case for a more integrated governance of the river Yamuna. This study helped us draw certain recommendations for the government based on our interaction with the local communities.