River Rejuvenation: an Art of Living Initiative to Make India Water Positive


BENGALURU, India, June 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The looming water crisis calls for immediate attention and quick action. Around 54% of the sub-continent is said to have turned into a water-stressed dust bowl with many rivers rapidly drying up. The situation has gradually reached an alarming level. Rivers that flowed throughout the year have become seasonal due to decreased water flow among the tributaries. Experts opine that by 2025, the country will face an acute water crisis if any preventive measures are not taken.

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To combat the situation, The Art of Living has been proactively working for a decade with a team of scientists, geologists, and many other experts, along with numerous volunteers, working together to revive river basins across India.


Multi-pronged Approach

Under the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the River Rejuvenation Projects team was formed to create a long-lasting solution to the groundwater crisis. The team does detailed research and analysis before implementing the solution at various levels. The multi-pronged approach consists of extensive community mobilization and capacity building, afforestation, construction of groundwater recharge structures, soil conservation measures, area and drainage line treatment, and sustainable agriculture. 

The methodology focuses on constructing Boulder Checks to reduce the runoff velocity of rainwater, Recharge Shafts in ponds for water conservation through rainwater harvesting, and tree plantation to reduce soil erosion & increase soil moisture. Recharge Wells along the suitable stream network accelerate the natural process of groundwater recharge, and Subsurface Dyke, as a barrier built below the ground in the active channel (permeable zone), prevents the base flow from flowing downstream and enhances the water level on the upstream side. 

The project contributes significantly to India’s water security, rejuvenating 70 rivers and streams. A total area of 59.000 sq. km. has been under the influence, with work-in-progress in 8 states. Planted 7,00,000+ trees along the river basins and built around 95,000+ structures. The benevolence of the project has benefitted the lives of 3.45 crore people. There are innumerable examples of dried rivers/streams now flowing in full swing after the intervention of The Art of Living River Rejuvenation Project. 

Impact and Results in Various States of India

The Art of Living has successfully revived The Naganadhi River in Tamil Nadu with the help of 44,000 women volunteers who worked diligently to make the uphill task possible. These women have revived a 366 sq. km catchment area by constructing 5,000+ recharge wells and 1,000+ boulder checks. The river, which was dry for about 50 years, today flows for more than 600 days. There have been praises about the effort, with the Hon’ble PM himself mentioning the work of these women in his telecast of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Kumudvathi, Vedavathi, Palar, and some partially covered river basins are being revived in Karnataka. The project has impacted 22 rivers and streams in the state and benefited 13,000+ villages. 

In Maharashtra, the team has rejuvenated 37 rivers/streams, built 23,600+ structures which have benefitted 20,75,000+ people and de-silted 2,39,00,000+ cubic meters in 27 districts influencing 941 sq. km. area. 

In Uttar Pradesh, the river rejuvenation work has benefitted 41 villages and changed the status of 2 blocks – Chamraua and Saidnagar favourably, as per the reports by Central Groundwater Board.

In Andhra Pradesh, river rejuvenation has also started in Penna and Papagani river basins in the Cuddapah and Ananthapur districts. 

The Art of Living River Rejuvenation team has extended the water conservation work in Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan. 

The details of rivers shared above are only a few among the numerous river basins that are part of the success story of the River Rejuvenation Project by The Art of Living.

The impact of the project has been tremendous on various fronts. It has increased groundwater levels, optimized crop production, increased soil fertility, and doubled farmers’ income. It has helped to revive rivers, rekindle lives and rebuild hope. The Art of Living River Rejuvenation Project ensures that India is closer to recovering from the water crisis.

About The Art of Living: Social Projects

The Art of Living is a non-profit, educational, and humanitarian organization founded by the world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar aims to reach every corner of India and resolve the nation’s water looming water crisis by reviving rivers. 

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Shamika Gandhi


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