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The water man of India recognised for life-changing work


Rajendra Singh is the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, for his work to overcome drought and give villagers secure water supplies in Rajasthan, India. The Stockholm Water Prize is the world's most prestigious award for outstanding achievements in water-related activities. Under the umbrella of Water for the World, Borealis and Borouge are one of the co-founders of this prize.

Mr Singh first travelled to Rajasthan in the 1980s, to set up health clinics. He soon discovered that in India's driest state, water was a much greater need. Without water, crops died, rivers and forests disappeared and villagers had to leave to find work. Those left behind had little hope.

With the villagers' help, Mr Singh set out to build johads. These traditional earth dams store rainwater, making water available when people need it and preventing floods during heavy rain. This is particularly important, with climate change leading to more frequent floods and droughts around the world.

Within 20 years, Mr Singh's work had helped create 8,600 johads and other structures to collect water. These had brought water back to 1,000 villages. Several rivers had started to flow again, allowing forests to recover and wildlife to return. The Stockholm International Water Institute, who awarded the prize, described Mr Singh as ‘a beacon of hope' who had ‘literally brought villages back to life'.

His example shows that science and technology alone will not solve the world's water problems. By working with local people, and combining modern and traditional approaches, it is possible to change the lives of those most in need.

 

Check for more information SIWI web site.

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