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Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Professor Lyla Mehta is a Professorial Fellow at IDS. She trained as a sociologist (University of Vienna) and has a PhD in Development Studies (University of Sussex).

Her work focuses on water and sanitation, forced displacement and resistance, scarcity, rights and access, resource grabbing and the politics of environment/ development and sustainability. More recently, her projects have addressed peri urban dynamics, the politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Africa and uncertainty and climate change from below in India. She has extensive field research in India studying the politics of water scarcity, the linkages between gender, displacement and resistance, access to water in peri urban areas and climate change and uncertainty.

Additionally, she has worked on water management issues in southern Africa and studied the cultural and institutional aspects of sanitation in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia and the scaling of community-led total sanitation. Her work uses the case of water to explore conceptual and empirical questions concerning scarcity, power, politics, uncertainty, rights and access to resources, the contested nature of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ and the cultural politics of development. She is currently the water and sanitation domain convenor of the STEPS centre.

Lyla Mehta’s recent work

Journal Article

Uncertainty in Climate Science: Extreme Weather Events in India

Economic and Political Weekly 53.31

In May 2018, multiple extreme weather events claimed scores of lives, damaged property and brought public life to a standstill in parts of India. In the aftermath of these events, a blame game ensued with some assigning responsibility to scientific and state agencies, and others calling for more...

4 August 2018

Journal Article

Towards a Peri-Urban Political Ecology of Water Quality Decline

Land Use Policy 70

The article shows that as a complex socio-political challenge, water quality decline is centrally shaped by the intensifying linkages between urban and peri-urban forms of development and as a result deserves central attention as part of both these debates.

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Lyla Mehta & 2 others

1 January 2018

Journal Article

Connecting WASH with NTDs: a cross-sector imperative

Development practitioners and scholars have often overlooked the importance of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in their work on water, sanitation and health (WASH), and epidemiologists have neglected the importance of WASH in their studies of NTDs. In June 2017, COUNTDOWN brought together...

20 November 2017