Corporate India does its bit to conserve and manage water
Building water sufficient communities
Water, being one of the most crucial resources, has been taken up as a priority area by Ambuja Cement. While its operations are not highly water intensive, cement manufacturing does require water. Therefore, the company has made a possible attempt to conserve and manage water.
At Ambuja Cements’ manufacturing units water is utilised for operations and is also recycled to ensure its optimum use. In 2015, acl reused/recycled 14 per cent of its total water withdrawal from various sources. The recycled water was treated in sewage or effluent treatment plants or by reverse osmosis and reused in dust suppression, gardening, etc. The company has consciously extended the initiative to the communities as well.
Right from the time acl started with its first plant in Gujarat, it realised that water was the most vital resource for sustenance of human beings and emerged as priority amongst the communities it works with. Scarcity of quality water was leading to several problems such as women drudgery, school dropouts and health problems.
The Ambuja Cement Foundation (acf), through adoption of a participative approach and customised solutions, has been catering to different challenges in varied geographies. In Kodinar (Gujarat), the salinity slipped back towards the coastline and resulted in improvement of water quality. In Rabriyawas (Rajasthan), frequent famines were a major problem. acf, through a mix of traditional knowledge and technological methods, focused on building/renovating traditional water reservoirs and structures to recharge groundwater and harvest surface water.
In the hilly terrain of Himachal Pradesh, acf has undertaken ‘watershed management’ to conserve water and improve the quality of livestock and land, while in Maharashtra, facing high surface runoff, the foundation focuses on groundwater recharge.The programme has brought about economic benefits. There is an increase in agricultural yield all year round, which brings higher incomes and reduces average annual expenditure for families. By partnering with the government and other developmental agencies, the company has achieved large scale projects like 379 check dams, 6,206 roof rainwater harvesting structures, 559 wells/bore wells, etc, thereby creating 53.73 million cubic meter of water storage capacity thus benefiting over 380 villages. Through its projects, acf has been focusing on in situ water harvesting methods, which is best suited for India’s
Reducing water stress
Anandana, the Coca-Cola India Foundation, was set up as a ‘not for profit’ company by Coca-Cola India with a view to extend its Corporate Social Responsibility (csr) initiatives to the community at large, particularly those that are economically and socially deprived.
For Anandana, the empowering of people, especially women, by raising their standard of living is the prime objective. To achieve this objective, Anandana focuses on supporting social projects in the domain of water sustainability and women empowerment through the spread of new and renewable energy.
Anandana’s efforts to replenish groundwater are focused on rainwater harvesting, groundwater aquifer recharge, constructing check dams, restoring ponds and other natural bodies of water, and supporting agricultural improvements. In many cases, projects also help improve local livelihoods, help communities adapt to climate change, improve water quality and enhance biodiversity.
After careful consideration and field visits to different water stressed areas, the foundation has identified Bundelkhand, Mewat and Rajasthan as the most water deficit areas of the country.
A significant feature of these projects is the strong community thrust with women participating in large numbers and attaining a supervisory role as members of village level ‘Pani Samitis (Water committees)’ to formulate and execute norms and procedures around the maintenance and sustainability of the community water projects.
Jalanidhi, a project under Anandana, has changed lives of over 4,000 people over the past five years. Farmers have benefitted from agricultural production and sustained livelihoods and from the trainings they
The Coca-Cola Foundation, ccipl and teri University came together to set up the Coca-Cola Department of Regional Water Studies in 2014, an academic department for building knowledge and capacity in water-related issues.
The department serves to examine water issues in an interdisciplinary framework and develop a globally competitive class of young water management professionals. Presently, it offers Diploma, Master’s and
Doctoral programmes in water science and governance.
Watershed development strategy
Private sector Axis Bank realised that rural livelihoods are intricately related to water and land development. A watershed development strategy was therefore an imperative for promotion of rural livelihoods.
The bank’s water development strategy comprised enabling water conservation and access, restoring ecological balance, and promoting overall economic development of the village/community.
Water conservation works were undertaken leading to an increase in cropping intensity, increase in area under cultivation, creation of water user association for management of the water resources, plantations and afforestation; leading to improved ecological balance.
Water shed development activity has led to access to drinking water, reducing drudgery for women and water for livestock.
The programme has supported creation and renovation/restoration of 5,160 water structures (check dams, farm ponds, tanks, etc), 1,666 water user groups have been created, and 9.5 lakh trees planted. Watershed development has led to an increase in agriculture productivity and livestock development.
The results have been improved soil health, the protection of ground water recharge, access to improved irrigation, increased agricultural yield, reduced distressed migration, improved food security and nutrition to the household and an increase in asset base and better lifestyle. As well as credit-worthiness as a result of better incomes
dcm Shriram, through its project Mitha Sona, aims to improve
yield and productivity of about 1.5 lakh sugarcane farmers, through extensive sensitisation for 8,000 selected lead farmers who in turn carry forward improved practices to 40,000 sub-lead farmers and ultimately cascading the learning to the entire 1.5 lakhs of farmers in the catchment area.
The project involves getting farmers to accept modern agri practices like mulching in place of trash burning, using bio pest control measures, replace flood irrigation with furrow irrigation, etc.
Partners in the programme are International Finance Corporation (ifc) – a multilateral agency, Solidaridad – an International Development Agency and an mnc from the food and beverages sector.
This is an ongoing project which was initiated in 2006. It started as a pilot involving 2,000 farmers and has been progressively scaled up.
Drop by drop
As part of Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, River Rejuvenation projects were being undertaken in the Koregaon taluka in Satara, Maharashtra which falls in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats that receives low rainfall at an average of 846 mm and has experienced drought in the past years. Most farmers in this region do not have large holdings, and therefore any efforts to augment water supply and raise the ground water table would lead to enhanced agricultural productivity, livelihood development and afforestation in the surrounding areas. More than 88 per cent of farmers in Koregaon taluka own less than 2 hectares of land. Therefore, water augmentation would help the marginalised farmers and boost the overall economy of the area. All these measures would ensure that through this particular project, the bank would not only be able to improve the economy of the village but also negate their own water footprint to a large extent. The project benefits Ghigewadi, Pimpode, Wagholi and Dahigaon villages in the taluka. Besides surrounding villages will also be indirectly benefitted by the rise of the groundwater table.
Keeping the balance
In 2015, Godrej Industries initiated integrated watershed development projects in the drought prone regions of Beed in Maharashtra, Medak in Telengana and Magadi in Karnataka. It partnered with the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (nabard) for a four-year period to ensure the most drought prone agricultural belt becomes a water sufficient region.
With nabard the company is jointly partnering with local ngos that are carrying out the on-ground work in the villages. The three projects cover over 10,000 ha of land and will help restore the ecological balance of the region. The company expects to restore close to 10 million kl of water per annum through these projects, which would be made available for agriculture requirements of the region and help to mitigate the impact of drought in future years.
Under the Water for Public Good project, hul aims to help shape the debate on agricultural water management and water security in India. Cumulative and collective water potential of more than 300 billion litres has been created since inception. The projects have generated more than 6 lakh tonnes of agriculture and biomass production, as well as generating more than 37 lakh person days of employment. Over 170,000 people have been trained so far in water conservation activities, better agricultural practices and related areas.
The bank has a commitment of touching 100 million lives by the provision of safe and clean drinking water by 2020. The bank partnered with an Indian start-up which had developed an innovative, membrane-based water purification technology requiring no electricity or chemical-dosing for purifying water. In addition, its quick and easy-to-assemble design made it ideal for use in rural India. The bank also joined hands with the Indian Railways to provide safe and clean drinking water at 1,000 ‘D’ and ‘E’ railway stations across India by 2019. In FY16, yes Bank partnered with the Delhi Jal Board for installing innovative water atms in and around the Jhuggi Jhopri (jj) clusters of Delhi, to provide safe and purified drinking water to underserved communities at an affordable price. Since the inception of its ‘Livelihood and Water Security’ csr intervention, yes Bank has provided access to safe & clean drinking water to more than 50 million Indians.