Blog.Feb 11, 2016

Shri Rajendra Singh – Make flow slow!

In charge of the sound system during recording (read: hit the ‘panic button’ should the feedback go crazy during the talk), I was told that we almost wouldn’t need the microphone for Mr. Singh’s part of the Water Dialogue seminar because he delivers his talks with such enthusiasm.

Revisiting Stockholm nearly six months after being awarded the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize, Shri Rajendra Singh delivered a message of love and affection for water, and nature. Starting his talk in a quiet and mellow tone, it was not long before his passion took over and the Rajendra that I heard so much about, appeared.

His mission? A reliable, sustainable, and resilient water supply for a region in rural India. His approach? Both endearing and simple. Endearing in its respectfulness towards nature, and simple in its technical design.

As a result of Rajendra’s rainwater harvesting efforts, rivers running down the mountains are able to both restore flora and fauna and replenish the groundwater aquifers that source the wells in the rural villages. An ever growing population has stretched the capacity of natural resources in the region beyond its limits however. Supply no longer met demand; rivers, lakes and aquifers were not replenishing quickly enough, and the wells were running dry. What was the simple solution then? Make flow slow! Mr. Singh, who has made large areas in Hyderabad, India, revert from desert-like conditions to lush and water secure havens, explained to us that by creating small dams at strategic locations, riverine water is given enough time to trickle down and replenish the underground aquifers. The added benefit being a change at a micro-climate scale, that is, increasing rainfall locally.

Let’s hope Mr. Singh find his way back to Sweden again soon to give us the opportunity once again to take part of his love, affection and enthusiasm for nature and water.