Water is precious. This is a truth that I learned as a young boy in Rajasthan, India. On many mornings, I would accompany my mother to fetch water from the village well. I watched her lower buckets in the groundwater well and then pull them up to the surface. One morning, an elderly aunt asked me to pull a few buckets for her, but I pretended not to hear. My mother noticed, and she taught me my life's lesson: Stray animals feed themselves; human beings help one another.
I carried that lesson as I built a new life in the United States. In 2003, I dedicated myself to end water scarcity.
Yes, Aakash Ganga is an infrastructure to last generations. I recall during my first visit, it became clear that villagers are unwilling to co-invest. They expect free water as an entitlement. Later on I went back and offered to their rooftops for a fee to collect rainwater from their rooftops or acquire rainwater harvesting rights. This model clicked.