Amla Ruia

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Amla Ruia
Amla Ashok Ruia.jpg
OccupationEntrepreneur, Water Activist and Educationist
Known forAakar Charitable Trust and The Ground Report India

Amla Ashok Ruia is an Indian social activist known for her work in water harvesting. Great Activist


Ruia was inspired by severe droughts in 1999/2000 and 2003 to improve water harvesting in Rajasthan villages.[1][2] She founded the Aakar Charitable Trust(ACT) to partner with villages to build check dams that provide water security.[3]

Her first check dam project was in Mandawar village,[1] which was a success. Farmers managed to earn up to 120 million rupees in a year via the two check dams built by Aakar Charitable Trust.[1] By the end of 2017, Aakar Charitable Trust had built more than 200 check dams in more than 115 villages in Rajasthan, with flow-on effects to almost 200 other villages.[4][5][6] The Trust provides 60-70% of the resources required to construct each check dam, while the village where the dam is sited provides 30-40% of resources, participates in its construction, and is responsible for its maintenance.[3][4] The check dams allow the aquifers to be replenished during the monsoon, so that bore wells and hand-pumps are recharged.[4] Villagers have been able to grow up to three crops per year and keep livestock.[1][3][4] Ruia estimates that the resulting increased income gives a 750% return on the investment in the check dams.[3] Girls are able to attend school, as they no longer need to help their mothers carry water from long distances,[4] and students can undertake tertiary education.[3] Ruia is popularly known as Paani Mata ("Water Mother").[1][7]

Ruia and her team have extended their efforts in other states such as Madhya Pradesh,[1][5] Maharashtra,[1][5] Odisha,[5] and the Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh,[1][5] and have plans to expand into Bihar,[2] Haryana,[2] Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh.

In 2011, Ruia was awarded a Lakshmipat Singhania - IIM Lucknow National Leadership Award in the category of Community Service and Social Upliftment.[8][9] In 2016, she was nominated for the Women of Worth Social Award category.[6] In 2018, she received the India Eye International Human Rights Observer Achievement Award 2018.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Amla Ruia was born in Uttar Pradesh.[11] She currently lives in Malabar Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "'Water Mother' Amla Ruia, transformed over 100 villages of Rajasthan using traditional water harvesting". Vishwa Samvad Kendra. NewsBharati. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Jayakumar, P.B. (8 October 2017). "Healing Drought". Business Today. India. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dey, Anindo (23 September 2012). "Water idea, sir ji!". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Peerzeda, Aamir Rafiq (12 September 2017). "Meet India's dam-building grandmother". BBC News. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kumar, Pavan Manikanta (5 August 2018). "Meet The Woman Who Rescued 2 Lakh Villagers From Poverty And Tripled Their Revenue In 10 Years". The Logical Indian. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Women of Worth: About the Nominee - Amla Ruia". Women Of Worth. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  7. ^ "One Woman Made 100 Villages in Rajasthan Fertile Using Traditional Water Harvesting Methods". The Better India. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Leadership Awards". Hindustan times. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  10. ^ "IHRO to celebrate World Environment Day". The Sunday Guardian. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  11. ^ "About the Trust". Aakar Charitable Trust. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  12. ^ Merchant, Cyrus H. (18 May 2016). "Brightly flows the river". Marwar. India. Retrieved 10 February 2019.