Amla Ruia : India’s ‘Water Mother’ Who Helped Provide Water to Over 300 villages in Arid Region

India’s “Water Mother” Amla Ruia popularly know for leading a campaign that helped provide water in over 300 villages in the arid desert region of Rajasthan in western India. 

India’s biggest state, Rajasthan. An area particularly affected by drought before, is also one of the driest but does dam-building grandmother Amla Ruia & her Aakar Charitable Trust have a solution to the water problem?

Meet Amla Ruia, the ‘water mother’, who made this possible.

Photo: Navbharat Times | Ruia who uses traditional water harvesting methods founded the Aakar Charitable Trust.

Fondly known as Water Mother, Amla Ruia is a water activist based in Mumbai, India. Who has reintroduced traditional water harvesting techniques and built check dams in over 115 villages throughout Rajasthan, with flow-on effects to almost 300 other villages

Rajasthan is an area particularly affected by drought and, in an effort to find a “sustainable and permanent solution for saving water,” Amla founded Aakar Charitable Trust which provides grants to the local rural areas, which are the driest in the country, with the necessary resources to build the 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.

Source: The Better India

The whole scenario is transformed. Where they couldn’t even own one cattle, they now have eight to ten. Where they couldn’t take one crop, they are taking two — or sometimes even a third crop. Their childrens are going to school because the mother no longer has to go long distances to fetch water.

Photo: The Logical Indian | Gunda-bera check dam during construction and during monsoon

How do check dams work?

Check dams are weirs like structures constructed with small masonry works and extensive earthen bunds. They are mostly constructed in hilly areas. The rainwater coming from the hills are stopped and stored by the check dam.

Check dams helps to reduce erosion, by lowering water speed and accumulating sediments and also helps to recharge groundwater. They are cost-effective and bestow tremendous bounty on the land and the people.

Photo: The Better India | The Aakar Charitable Trust constructed check dams in the villages to solve their water problems.

Impact of check dams on villages

“There are massive changes in the villages. All villages are earning a total sum of Rs 500 crores The incomes in the villages had tripled. The villages along had started animal husbandry along with farming, growing three crops a year; few of villagers had begun small-scale industries too. All the children are going to school, all the abled-bodied people who migrated are back in the village. It is only the water that has done all these transformations in these villages,” said Amla Ruia (In The Logical Indian 2018)

Villagers have contributed an important role in this complete transformation. Villagers are involved in every decision from site selection to supervising the check dam construction.

Now, Aakar Trust also started working in Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhatisgarh. The villagers call Amla “Water Mother” for turning their barren land into lush green fields.

Photo: Source | The women don’t have to walk several kilometres now to collect water.

Watch BBC News’ interview with Amla Rula below.

Amla Rula is one of our #CaptainPlanet for reintroducing traditional water harvesting techniques as a sustainable solution to Rajasthan’s water problem.

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