100 Water Heroes: Dr. Ayyappa Masagi


Managing Director at the Water Literacy Foundation

Dr. Ayyappa Masagi is the Managing Director at the Water Literacy Foundation in India. He is known fondly as ‘Water Warrior’, and has been responsible for transforming water management systems in thirteen states across India. He firmly believes that India - and the world - has enough water for everybody, “provided we use this precious resource judiciously,” and without greed, particularly when it comes to the private industry’s consumption of water (Ramesh, 2017).

Ayyappa has driven the construction of hundreds of lakes and water saving projects, as well as rejuvenated over 1000 dry boreholes. Ayyappa has also been noted in the Limca Book of World records for having built over 700 artificial lakes.

Prior to his work in water conservation, Ayyappa was a Mechanical Engineer for Larsen and Toubro. When reflecting on what inspired his shift to water advocacy, Ayyappa described his experience as a child in a family of impoverished farmers in Gadag, Karnataka:

“In my childhood we faced plenty of water problems. I used to wake up with my mother at 3 am to go and fetch water. This used to happen so often that I took an oath to try and conserve water every day. In fact, throughout my growing years, I thought of ways to conserve water” (In Ramesh, 2017).

Ayyappa’s career is dedicated to making every drop counts, and he ensures that his domestic water use is no different. He has specifically modified his home to be as water wise as possible by installing a rooftop rainwater harvesting system, and collecting grey water in an outside pit to replenish groundwater.

Ayyappa is one of our #100WaterHeroes for dedicating his life to improving India’s water management practices and encouraging people to make every drop count.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/ayyappa-masagi-a49695109