22/03/2015 10:15 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

India's 'Water Man' Rajendra Singh Wins Stockholm Prize

The India Today Group via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA SEPTEMBER 02: Rajendra Singh speaks at the Panchayat Aaj Tak 2014 in New Delhi on Tuesday, September 02, 2014.(Photo by Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images)

STOCKHOLM — Rajendra Singh, an eminent environment activist, has been conferred the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize this year for his innovative water restoration efforts and extraordinary courage to empower communities in Indian villages.

Singh, who is widely popular as the 'Water Man', was named the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need, a statement said.

Born in 1959, Rajasthan-based Singh for several decades have dedicated himself to defeating drought and empowering communities.

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize to Singh at a Royal Award Ceremony during 2015 World Water Week here on August 26, it added.

In its citation, The Stockholm Water Prize Committee said that "today's water problems cannot be solved by science or technology alone. They are instead human problems of governance, policy, leadership, and social resilience."

"He has literally brought villages back to life. We need to take Mr Singh's lessons and actions to heart if we are to achieve sustainable water use in our lifetime."

On receiving the news about the prize, Singh said "this is very encouraging, energising and inspiring news."

"When we started our work, we were only looking at the drinking water crisis and how to solve that. Today our aim is higher. This is the 21st century. This is the century of exploitation, pollution and encroachment. To stop all this, to convert the war on water into peace, that is my life's goal," he said.

He has already won Ramon Magsaysay award in 2001 for his work on community-based water harvesting and water management.

The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award founded in 1991 and presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to an individual, organisation or institution for outstanding water-related achievements.

The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives USD 150,000 and a specially designed sculpture.