2015 World Water Week: Water Man of India wins Stockholm Water Prize

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WaterSan Perspective
August 28, 2015

Rajendra Singh of India this week received Stockholm Water Prize for his innovative water restoration efforts, improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the prize to Rajendra Singh at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.

Rajendra Singh (L) receiving the Stockholm Water Prize
Rajendra Singh (L) receiving the Stockholm Water Prize

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Committee said that “today’s water problems cannot be solved by science or technology alone. Rajendra Singh’s life work has been in building social capacity to solve local water problems through participatory action, empowerment of women, linking indigenous know-how with modern scientific and technical approaches.”

On receiving the Prize, Rajendra Singh said “I want to thank all in this world who work for water. Today I make a promise to dedicate the rest of my life to water conservation.”

Mr Singh lives and works in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The results of his work are without equal: in close cooperation with local residents, he and his organization have revived several rivers, brought water and life back to a thousand villages, and given hope to countless people.

“Rajendra Singh has – through water – given people capacity and courage and thereby control over their lives and hope for the future. He has shown that sustainable development – environmental, economic and social – is based on wise water management,” said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI.

The methods used by Mr Singh are modernizations of ancient Indian ways of collecting and storing rainwater. The methods fell out of use during British colonial rule, but have now brought water back to India’s driest state.

On the significance of the prize, Rajendra Singh said: “I spent the last 31 years with a spade in my hand, down in the earth, but now, this prize give authority to my work.”

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