University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover

Ram Krishnan

Director, Akash Ganga Organization, St. Paul, MN.

I would like to take my water seminar students to India or Africa so we can experience what it means to live with little or no direct access to a freshwater source. But I can’t, so I do the next best thing, and that is to bring Ram Krishnan to the students. Students respond to Ram’s direct, pragmatic approach, and like the fact that he is doing something tangible. Krishnan, a retired businessman, is helping rural villagers in India to dig retaining ponds, to test the water, and then helping the villagers learn how to maintain the catchment ponds. He helps students understand rainwater harvesting techniques and how these techniques can provide villagers with access to freshwater. These water infrastructures can have a profound impact on the lives of the villagers, most especially the women and children, who do most of the water-gathering.

Several of the freshmen in the water seminar are pursuing business as a major, and are attending Carlson School of Management, where Ram graduated from. Ram understands how businesses operate, and can address the economic implications of privatization and its global and local impact. 

It is clear he enjoys his work, and helping people gain access to fresh water gives back to him as much as he gives. When students meet someone who has discovered their life’s calling, they want to understand the source of this inspiration.  

"Water is important everywhere. Human beings need it to live, making it physically important; spiritually, it can cleanse one of their sins; and it even has the power to evoke certain memories and emotions in people when they see it. Water permeates our entire lives and is involved in almost everything we do. Prior to this class, I had never thought about water as being all that important; but the more I learn about it, the more I am beginning to see it everywhere, in all aspects of my life."
—Tom Raley, former student

Ram Krishnan

Krishnan presenting on rainwater harvesting.

Photo by Justin Evidon

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Last modified on 8/23/2011