Karnataka – Gadag


  • 32/337Villages Completed
  • 1440 Micro Recharge Structures
  • 1.2 BillionGallons Water Capacity Built
  • $56,000Invested so far
  • 62150Individuals Impacted


  • Ground water table down to 650 ft
  • High salinity water not conducive for agriculture
  • Youth population migrating out of the districts to cities in search of employment abandoning traditional agriculture


Our Hero Story

Nagraj Gangoli

The leader who demonstrated it is possible to eliminate water poverty in rural India at scale

Nagraj Gangoli is from a region in Karnataka afflicted by extreme drought. Over 50% of the population in the region had migrated to cities for seeking employment, and those who stayed behind had no source of livelihood. The central govt had allocated millions of rupees to provide guaranteed employment for such farmers, but most villagers were unaware of these programs, and the funds never reached the beneficiaries.

Nagraj decided to do something about it and came up with a brilliant plan that would not only provide immediate employment to villagers but also solve the root cause of the drought. He partnered with ex-ISRO geo-scientists and developed massive plans for building rain water harvesting infrastructure in the villages and registered the project for the government’s employment program. Being a master youth leadership trainer with the Art of Living Foundation (our execution partner), Nagraj pulled together a dynamic team of leaders who went to inspire and educate villagers about this initiative.

By 2019 his team had completed interventions in over 500 villages around the Vedavathi and Kumudhvati river basins in Karnataka providing employment to several thousand villagers in the process. Farmers in these villages now have plenty of water in their wells are now able to cultivate 2-3 crops per year and their incomes have more than doubled. Nagraj was invited by Prime Minister Modi to present at the Doubling Farmer Incomes conclave and sent out official circulars to all state governments encouraging them to replicate this model in their regions.

OVBI is now partnering with Nagraj Gangoli and The Art of Living Foundation, to scale this model by funding gaps in govt programs. Nagraj recently completed an OVBI funded 25 village pilot and is working on 305 villages more in Gadag Karnataka. He is one of the key leaders driving our campaign to Eliminate Water Poverty in 5000 Villages by 2023.

Dr. Lingaraju Yale

The geoscientist who sparked the revolution to eliminate water poverty in India

Dr. Lingaraju Yale was the director of remote sensing division with the government of Karnataka, and specialized in identifying locations for drilling bore-wells. Over the span of 30 years he saw first hand the worsening of India’s water crisis. He observed that in places where one could find water in wells at 30 ft depth just a couple decades ago, bore-wells as deep as 600 ft were running dry. He realized that this was a man made water crisis resulting from deforestation, chemical farming, over-exploitation of ground water and illegal encroachment of lakes and other water bodies.

After intense research he came up with a plan to solve India’s rural water crisis at scale. But his method involved working within multiple departments within the state government such as the surface water dept. ,ground water dept. ,rural ministry , remote sensing dept, etc. and he grew increasingly frustrated as he couldn’t get them moving in one direction.

That’s when he approached the Art of Living Foundation (our execution partner), who put their volunteer force behind his project to navigate the hurdles of unresponsive bureaucracy. He first piloted his approach over a 450 sq. km area in the Kumudhvathi river basin in Karnata.

Encouraged by the results he and his team of 5 ex-ISRO geocientists have developed technical action plans for several thousand villages in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala.

Dr. Lingaraju and his team are technical advisors on most of the projects being supported by OVBI.


US Project Lead

Satyadeep Purushan

India Project Lead

Nagraj Gangolli

Execution Lead