Large areas of India are relatively arid, mechanisms for allocating scarce waterare critically important to the welfare of the country's citizens. Water contributes to welfare inseveral ways: health (e.g. clean drinking water), agriculture (e.g., irrigation), and industry (e.g.,hydroelectric power). Because India is a federal democracy, and because rivers cross stateboundaries, constructing efficient and equitable mechanisms for allocating river flows has longbeen an important legal and constitutional issue. Numerous inter-state river-water disputes haveerupted since independence. A recent dispute over use of the Yamuna River among the states ofDelhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, was resolved by conferences involving three state ChiefMinisters, as well as the central government. This approach was adopted only after priorintervention by the Supreme Court had failed. Not all disputes have happy endings, however: forexample, the larger dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the waters of the Cauveryrages on. Inter-state water disputes continue to fester. Such disputes are a persistent phenomenonin India.