Water is central to our lives but has not been the central point of focus in our planning while we rapidly evolve into an urban society.Immense water pollution, the wrath of prolonged droughts, the dipping water table ,reduction in traditional water recharging areas, release of chemicals and effluent into rivers, streams and ponds , water-borne diseases etc. are just some of the many issues responsible for water scarcity in India. However, even when the entire country is struggling with water shortage , there are many across the country going out of their way to conserve water, popularly can be named as the “water warriors of India”.
Why called Water warriors Of India:
They are constantly constructing wells, spread awareness in terms of water conservation, build check- dams as well as ensure that clean drinking water reaches the needy and deprived ones.In times, when 69 crores Indians lack access to clean and healthy drinking water,the country needs many such water warriors in each and every part of the nation.The good news is that we all can become one of them by taking the initiative of Jal Daan campaign forward.We can pledge to share 5 litres of clean drinking water with someone in dire need of healthy drinkable water.
To know more about the Jal-Daan pledge,
The five water warriors of India who have taken the initiative as yet are:
- Amla Ruia: Amla Ruia,the Mumbai-based social activists, has done a tremendous job and is known as ‘water-mother’ for those poor and deprived people .She has transformed the face of over 100 villages in Rajasthan by using traditional water harvesting techniques and building check- dams.
“I saw the government providing water tankers to meet the water needs of the villagers. But I thought to myself that this was not a sustainable solution. There must be a more permanent solution that could help the farmers in the long run,” she recalls.
This is where ‘Akar Charitable Trust’ came into the picture.She founded this organisation to check dams (small and temporary dams) to provide water security.Through this, water can be stored in large dams and in a cost effective manner.Her first success was in a village called Mandawar, where two check dams were constructed. Soon a particular location of the dam was decided and there was no looking back. By next monsoon, the dam got constructed and the villages of Rajasthan started to transform from being dry and torrid to prosperous and hydrated.
2. Abid Surti: Abid Surti or Aabid Surti is a National award winning author, artists, cartoonist, playwright, besides being one- man NGO ( ‘Drop Dead Foundation’), out to save every drop of water.The 80-year old celebrates Sunday by picking any building of Mumbai’s far-flung suburbs of Mira road with his plumber and a volunteer in town and search for leaking taps to plug . Absolutely free of charge.
“Though I was born to a well-off family, my childhood was spent on the pavement, because our family had lost everything,said Aabid.It was the childhood trauma. I was brought up on the pavement. There was a fight for every drop of water. Every bucket we had to fight for. And that legacy stayed with me. Once, when I went to a friend’s place, I saw one of the taps leaking, and it hurt me.”
In 2007, the first year of foundation’s existence , Aabid visited 1666 households in Mumbai, fixed 414 leaking taps free of charge and saves 4.14lakh litres of water.He is one of the true water warriors of India.
3. Ayyappa Masagi: Ayyappa Masagi, an Ashokan fellow, is considered a water warrior for India.He has helped India to create countless solutions to India’s acute water scarcity problem.He is the founder of ‘Water Literacy Foundation’ and rainwater concepts.An expert in rainwater harvesting and bore well recharging and helps in fighting India’s acute water crisis.
The Karnataka’s resident purchased 6 acres of land in a village in Gadag, a dry region and started planting rubber and coffee in order to prove that one can grow irrespective of the scarcity of water. By using methodologies like recharging bore wells and non-irrigational agricultural methods he reaped a very good harvest in the two subsequent years. Therefore, he started spreading the same message in neighbouring areas as well.Today Ayyappa has developed thousands of conservation projects across 11 states and created 600 lakes in the country.He has touched 200millions of Indian lives through his Jal Daan Initiatives.
4. Rajendra Singh: Rajendra Singh is a well-known water conservationist from Alwar district Rajasthan,India. He is also known as the ‘Waterman of India’. He has won ‘Stockholm Water Prize’ , known as ‘The Nobel Prize’ for water in 2015.
In 1959, when Rajendra was about to set up health centres in the region ,he immediately realised that people there are in a dire need of water rather than health care.So he started working with the villagers to build mud dams called ‘johad’ – a traditional technique of collecting rainwater throughout the year, used for drinking purpose by human and cattle.
Today, after about 20 years of work, there are nearly 6800 johads and other similar structures that collect water in the state, providing water to about 1000 villages in Rajasthan.
These four water fighters have proved us that nothing is impossible if we do it unitedly.One person has the power to change the society. We can also be one of the water heroes and can make a huge difference to the society.Take your one initiative towards Jal- Dan and be the driver of change. But it should start with you as we all know that
‘Charity begins at home’………