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Despite water engineers’ best attempts to explain water trouble as the result of technical difficulties, natural disasters, or shortages, dry taps are overwhelmingly described in private conversations, in popular discourse, and in media narratives as the result of an all-knowing, all-powerful state that is riddled with corruption. Notwithstanding the fragmentation of knowledge and hazy legalities that department engineers themselves must navigate in providing water to the rapidly changing city, Mumbai residents remain convinced that the water department possesses complete knowledge and exercises precise control over the water distribution system. Dry taps are thus assumed to be the deliberate designs of...

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