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Mission Paani: Meet Amla Ruia, the Conservationist Who Helped Solve Water Crisis in Rajasthan Villages

Photo: Aakar Charitable Trust

Photo: Aakar Charitable Trust

There are many areas in the country where even drinking water is scarce. One such region that needs serious water conservation efforts is Rajasthan.

Sustainability of crucial natural resources like water is the need of the hour as the importance of hygiene amidst coronavirus pandemic increased in the past year. There are many areas in the country where even drinking water is scarce. One such region that needs serious water conservation efforts is Rajasthan. Amla Ruia, who was born and raised in Uttar Pradesh, realized the ill-effects of this problem when dreadful images from Rajasthan’s severe drought in 1998 surfaced.

They had a lasting impact on her and inspired her to find a concrete solution to water scarcity. She finally set up the Aakar Charitable Trust that now works in drought-stricken villages to set up check dams to reserve water.

The Trust has built 200 drinking water kunds, traditional water collecting areas, from the year 2000 to 2005. These kunds now collect a total of one crore liters of pure natural drinking water from the rain every year in the remotest areas where no government-supplied water is available, says the Aakar Charitable Trust. The villagers in these areas contributed 25 percent of the total construction cost.

Amla’s trust also built 317 check dams from 2006 to 2018 in Rajasthan that have directly benefited 182 villages. These villages, according to Amla have experienced an upliftment in their lifestyle and even brought them out of the poverty line. A total of 4,82,900 people have benefitted directly and indirectly from the availability of water through such check dams.

For the completion of these projects, Rs 11 crores was provided by the sponsors while Rs 4.7 crores was contributed by the villagers. The check dams have relieved many women from walking miles to fetch drinking water. It has also increased farming and animal husbandry activities in the areas that have contributed to villages’ economy. According to Aakar Charitable Trust, villagers are now earning a net income of Rs 500 crores annually since the project completed. Villagers have contributed to the maintenance of these structures that has brought them out of miserable times.

The trust also works for better education at minimal cost in Rajasthan.

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