Rajendra Singh, popularly known as “Jal Purush” or “Waterman of India” is an inspirational icon, has changed the life of people in over 1000 villages of
Aravalli Hills. He runs a voluntary Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) based at Alwar. In 2002, Rajendra Singh started a National Water March (Rashtriya Jal Yatra) covering northern and southern states including 144 river basins. During this yatra he organised five national water conferences in different parts of the country. He organises Pani Pachayat or Water Parliament in remote villages of Rajasthan. Rajendra Singh’s efforts to educate people about the importance of conservation of water eradicated the scarcity of water in the rural areas of Rajasthan. People voluntarily build Johads (rainwater storage tanks) so that the women don’t have to travel to the distant places to fetch water, fuel, wood and fodder. He is well-known for his efforts in water harvesting by building check dams across Rajasthan.
His organisation – Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) is working for the empowerment of communities using Gandhian approach of Gram Swarajya- village self-rule. The unique part of TBS’s modus operandi for development is to make community self-reliant. It seeks to bring dignity and prosperity to the life of destitute section of the nation through sustainable development measures. It also aims for the holistic development of men, women, and children, regardless of economic situation, caste or
religion. TBS promotes the community-driven-decentralized management of the natural resources.
Over the years, TBS has managed and helped to build over 8600 Johads and
other water conservation infrastructures to collect rainwater and preserve for the dry seasons. Their activities of water recharging has helped over 1,000 villages across 6500 sq. km, and revived five rivers namely Arvari, Ruparel, Sarsa, Bhagani and Jahajwali of Rajasthan. With dedicated efforts of over three decades a dead river – Ruparel, started flowing again. River Arvari which became perennial by 1995, was awarded the `International River Prize’.
Awards and Recognition:
• In 2001, he received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership.
• In 2008, The Guardian named him amongst its list of “50 people who could save the planet”
• In 2005, he was conferred with the Jamnalal Bajaj Award.
• He also won the Stockholm Water Prize, an award known as “the Nobel Prize for water”