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Anil Agarwal
Anil Kumar Agarwal, the founder of the Centre for Science and Environment, spearheaded the Jal Swaraj campaign. His thoughts, ideas and opinions remain the driving force behind the movement. Agarwal conceptualised and edited Dying Wisdom, that explore the tremendous potential of India's traditional water harvesting systems; and Making Water Everybody's Business, that documents technologies that are being practiced even today by communities in various parts of the country. These two widely-read publications have gone a long way in putting the issue of community-based water management. in the national agenda.

Agarwal, who passed away on January 2, 2002, graduated as an engineer from one of India's leading engineering colleges in 1970, but gave up a promising technical career to become a science journalist in order to explore the country's scientific and technological needs. He joined Delhi's leading daily, Hindustan Times, as a science correspondent in 1973 and soon discovered India's most evocative environmental movement known as the Chipko Movement in 1974. The reportage of this movement not only led to a nationwide interest in environmental conservation but also brought home to Agarwal the importance that the environment and its natural resource base hold for the local village economy and for meeting the daily needs of village people in terms of water, firewood, fodder, manure, building materials and medicinal herbs. This was still a time when the leadership of the developing world still believed that economic development must take precedence over environmental conservation. But this understanding of the relationship between the poor and their environment soon turned Agarwal into a lifelong environmentalist and a reknowned environmental analyst and writer.

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Anupam Mishra
A Gandhian and an environmental activist, Anupam Mishra is among the most knowledgeable persons in India on traditional water harvesting systems. He has travelled to various part of the country, especially Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, visiting various water harvesting systems managed by people.

He has also interacted with grassroot-level water harvesters, inspired and supported them and helped them in their traditional water harvesting systems campaign. He has written two books on traditional tank management in India and various traditional water harvesting systems in Rajasthan titled Aaj bhi khare hai talab and Rajasthan ki rajat boonde. Mishra continues to travel to different parts of the country, while keeping in touch with grassroot-level water harvesters and NGOs and inspiring them. The mission of the Gandhi Peace Foundation is to promote the environmental activities of rural development agencies; to prepare survey reports on distressed areas and place them before concerned authorities; to disseminate environmental information through the publication of up-to-date reports on environmental issues; to organise workshops and seminars for environmental experts, policy makers, individuals and organisations engaged in environmental issues.

For details:

Gandhi Peace Foundation
221 - 223, Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg
New Delhi 110 002
Tel: 23237491, 23237493
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Pandit Punyadhar Jha
Andhra Tharhi village, (Madhubani) Bihar

Pandit Punyadhar Jha alias Bol Bam. A resident of Andhra Tharhi village of Madhubani district in Bihar, the octogenarian has spent a good part of his life planting trees. Jha has planted a record 10,000 trees in various districts of Bihar till now. And plans to continuing doing so in the future.
His knowledge bank: the Agni Puranas, which detail traditional plantation methods.
His motto: one tree is equal to 10 sons.
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Vijay Kedia
'Where there is a will there is a way', goes a popular saying, which perfectly applies to Vijay Kedia, an Aurangabad-based mechanical engineer/builder. While working on his family farm, his improved his understanding of water and its various facets. Further, the knowledge of raditional rainwater harvesting systems of Rajasthan encouraged him to innovatively modify the existing techniques to suit the local context. The Dewas roof water filter, Kedia-farm pattern bandhara (an earthen dam, commonly found in Maharashtra) and a rain gauge are the result of eight years of exploration. The potential of these low cost structures in eradicating ecological and economic poverty has been widely acknowledged.

A Kedia bandhara costs only Rs 5,000 and can capture 70 - 80 per cent of the monsoon runoff, while keeping the soil moist for next five to six months. It is constructed by digging a two feet wide and eight to ten feet deep trench before the bandhara, and refilling it with soil after vertically lining it with a PVC sheet. The trench acts as a vertical aquifer. The PVC sheet stops the water from percolating outside. In his farm, following the seventh century model at Ghadasisar in Jaisalmer, the bhandaras are constructed in a series - thus, preventing the runoff going waste. The wells are constructed in the bottom of the bhandara - ensuring a sustained availability of water.

These days he is actively spreading the knowledge around with one message - "Sai jitna dee jiye, wame kutumb samaye" (the rain god is giving us enough water, it has to be managed intelligently), which Kedia believes can sustainably solve the water scarcity.

He has also designed a simple rain gauge, which costs only Rs 2, with a two-litre plastic bottle.

For details:

72, Pannalal Nagar
Aurangabad 431 005
Tel: 0240-2337974 / 2339934
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