Water is essential for life yet it is the most neglected, polluted and taken for granted commodity. Experts project that by 2025, India will go through an acute water crisis if nothing is done sooner.
- 42 rivers and tributaries have been rejuvenated
- Over 1000 water bodies being cleaned
- 81 million trees planted all over the world. 9.6 million trees planted under Mission Green Earth
Standing on the banks of the Gharni River, Mr. Mahadev Gomare, a farmer and Art of Living River Rejuvenation Project member from Latur, Maharashtra admires the overflowing river with happiness. A few years ago, the riverbed was completely dry and no one could have dreamt that it would flow again. This river is alive today because of the commitment of The Art of Living organization, its volunteers and the local villagers.
The Art of Living has been working on rejuvenating rivers and canals in the Latur district of Maharashtra’s Marathwada region since 2013. Latur has been facing drought-like conditions for the last several years. Crops have failed, animals have died, farmers have committed suicide - the list of miseries is long.
Amidst stories of heart-wrenching drought, there is also a glimmer of hope.
The Art of Living has worked in 50 villages of Latur. Some of these villages are Renapur, Bhada, Darji Boragaon, Bamani, and Katpur. These villages have effectively addressed their water crisis through The Art of Living’s Jal Jagruti Abhiyaan. Volunteers working alongside villagers have been successful in making villages self-sufficient with their water requirements.
Through this program, The Art of Living volunteers along with villagers have revived a 4.5 km stretch of the Rena River and 20 km stretch of the Tawarja River. The Gharni River is also recharged to a great extent.
Gomare says, “The 50 villages that we have worked on have enough water for the villagers as well as the cattle. The canals and the bore wells are recharged in these villages and they do not have to depend on any external source of water.”
The Art of Living has been similarly working in many parts of India to conserve water and the environment. Thirty-five rivers and tributaries in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, and thousands of water bodies across India are being revived. Many places have witnessed groundwater level, which had gone thousands of ft below, come up to 50 and 40 ft. The wells, which were dry for many years are now full again and the villagers are very happy to find that the water table has increased in their area.
Himanshu Kalra is the COO of The Art Of Living foundation. He was formerly the VP of Deutsche Bank and an IIT Delhi graduate. He is currently heading one of the country's 'River Rejuvenation' programs and is also the initiator of the 'Startup Rekindle' program for entrepreneurs.