Ayyappa Masagi

Ashoka Fellow
Bangalore, India
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Ayyappa Masagi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
All people depend on fresh water for their survival, but when water is plentiful, it is often taken for granted. Pollution and increased consumption have combined with inefficient practices of management to make clean water a scarce resource in India, causing conflicts between farmers—even between states—over the control of rivers and aquifers.
Masagi resolves such conflicts by putting an effective and comprehensive set of water management strategies in the hands of farmers. He trains farmers in his programs to measure and trap rainwater, most of which now passes quickly through their land on its way to the sea. He guides them on how to budget their water needs, equipping them to make informed decisions about the crops they want to grow. He demonstrates effective strategies for reclaiming wells and building water enclosures, helping neighbors work together with local materials to keep costs low. Through his efforts farmers become self-sufficient, increasing their income and dramatically reducing their dependence on external sources of water. They also become advocates for strong water management policies throughout India, joining campaigns founded by Masagi to make their voices heard.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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