Akash Ganga Trust

Rain Centre, Chennai

Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:52 PM

Our Article

For his unique efforts in 2003, he was made an Ashoka Fellow ('Ashoka Innovators for Public' was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 in Washington, DC to recognise social entrepreneurs of the world. Now, it has over 2,000 Fellows in over 60 countries) Ashoka Fellows are selected from all over the world who work at the grassroots level.
In 2010, the Harmony for Silvers (founded by Anil Ambani's wife, Tina) selected him as one of the ten recipients of Silver. This time, the award was for his work in the field of sanitation. He was called the Inventor of Ecological Sanitation.


Many residents make the mistake of filling a RC well with gravel or brick rubble thinking that rainwater has to be filtered before it’s put into the soil. This is wrong. An RC well should be left empty and covered with a thick RCC cover. Residents also imagine that open source wells always have a parapet wall and so cannot be located on the driveway. Open wells without a parapet wall can be created on driveways, at the level of the driveway, without projecting above the surface. These wells are covered by strong, four-inch thick RCC slabs, and can take the weight of vehicles driven over them.

In 2003, Raghavan was given the Ashoka award for his work.

It has received proposals from various corporate houses to set up rainwater harvesting systems in open spaces and in charitable institutions as part of their corporate social responsibility activities.

“With water increasingly becoming a concern, corporate houses are expanding their corporate social responsibility activities by making conservation of water a key focus area,” Rain Centre’s Sekhar Raghavan said.

The more we deposit, the better our returns. Water management is simple:
a) Harvest Rainwater
b) Reuse Greywater (bath water which has been mixed with soaps). This can be naturally filtered by water loving plants such as Canna, which can then be used to flush toilets.
c) Learn to live with less water


One harvests rainwater to augment the municipal supply as well as to sustain the surface water bodies and the groundwater source.

Within cities and particularly at the micro level, it has only two aspects: to collect rainwater in plastic/masonry tanks for immediate use and to inject rainwater into the soil to sustain the groundwater source, which is also called recharging the groundwater source (aquifer).


One of the temple ponds of Kooram, neglected for years, has been revived by well-meaning citizens.

The Chola and Pallava kings, along with various other major and minor royal houses of the time, dug out massive irrigation tanks or eris, as they are known locally, to support agriculture in a terrain fed by seasonal rains.


The Akash Ganga Chennai group felt the need for a house in a central residential locality of Chennai, where the residents can see for themselves, the RWH systems in action and also get the necessary information. Hence it was decided to set up a model house called RAIN CENTRE. As a first step, in order to mobilise funds for creating the rain center, a trust called Akash Ganga Trust was formed in January 2002 with myself and Mr.N.R.Sudarshan as the first trustees and Mr V Varadarajan as a trustee. The trust was registered both with the Registrar of Cooperative Societies of the Tamilnadu Government as well as with the Income Tax department of the government of India under Sec. 12A of the IT Act. The trust had also obtained an exemption under Sec. 80G of the It Act.

In January 2003, I was selected as an Ashoka Fellow by a US-based non-profit organisation called Ashoka Innovators for the public in appreciation of my efforts to promote rainwater harvesting in Chennai city.

In June 2004 I was invited to Sri Lanka to present a paper on Rainwater Harvesting in a seminar. I was asked to advise the Sri Lankan government on the need to set up a Rain centre in Colombo and to legislate rainwater harvesting.

In August 2005, I was invited to Japan as the only participant from India, to present two papers in the Tokyo Asia Pacific Skywater Forum held in Sumida city, Tokyo. I was selected for the Harmony Silver award 2010, by The Harmony for Silvers Foundation, a non-government organisation founded in 2004 by Tina Anil Ambani. Since 2007 this Foundation has been selecting ten Silver achievers from across the country and felicitating them with a cash award and citation.In December 2011 our project was selected by the Jury as their choice for an award in the third round of Spark the Rise.

In December 2011 our project was selected by the Jury as their choice for an award in the third round of Spark the Rise.