The South Maharashtra Movement (SMM) for water rights describes the contentious politics in south Maharashtra, a state in western India, around the issue of water rights and access, and reflects fully the complexity of the social interactions. The establishment of the Mukti Sangharsh Movement in 1983 was the first important organizational expression of the SMM. Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development nongovernmental organizations, community groups, women's organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups. The non-governmental organization and social movements are located in the social space known as the "third sector". The wider struggle for equitable rights over water in the region grew from work done at the micro level by the Pani Panchayat in the 1970s and the Baliraja dam movement in the 1980s. The Pani Panchayat movement conceptualized and grounded the idea of equitable access to water, irrespective of land holdings.