Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 7, Dated 19 Feb 2011
Ayyappa Masagi, 54
BY YAMINI DEENADAYALAN
PHOTO: PURUSHOTAMAN R
Ayyappa Masagi’s technology saves millions of litres of water every year for farmers and mining companies. Born in a drought-prone part of Gadag district in Karnataka to illiterate parents, Masagi learnt the art of rainwater harvesting from his grandfather. While working as an engineer at Larsen & Toubro, he developed technologies using local resources to preserve water. He recharged open wells and borewells by building bunds for percolating and feeding the aquifer. “Small farmers can’t afford expensive irrigation equipment. My goal was to help them, so I quit my job,” he says. He became an Ashoka Fellow and later founded the Water Literacy Foundation. It builds systems to reclaim wells, measure and monitor rainwater. His idea has been successfully replicated in more than 36,000 locations in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Masagi also works with Akshaya Patra, a mid-day meal scheme for government schools in Karnataka. Every year, the kitchens use about one crore litres of water harvested from rains. “The rain is doing its work. We just don’t know how to use it to make India water efficient,” he says.
MASAGI MAY BE REACHED AT +91 94483 79497
‘I wanted to help those who can’t afford expensive irrigation devices’