– A sum of Rs 160 crore invested in water resource management
– The project has reached 473 villages across India
October 1st, 2019, Mumbai: Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), a pan-India grassroots implementing organization, was today awarded by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of Jal Shakti, for its work in water resource management in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The award has been received for the category ‘Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas’, which is one of the major goals of the National Water Mission.
ACF has worked in water resource management for the past 25 years, across 11 states, from the deserts of Rajasthan, to the mountains of Himachal and Uttarakhand, from the interiors of Maharashtra to the coastline of Gujarat. It is important to understand that water issues in India vary greatly from region to region. Keeping this in mind, ACF has been working with local communities, corporates and the government to ensure a water secured future.
The project interventions for water resource management presented by ACF for National Water Mission Awards were implemented in three districts, namely, Gir Somnath of Gujarat and Pali & Nagaur districts of Rajasthan.
While the main issue faced by Gujarat was that of saline water intrusion, Rajasthan saw a challenge in water supplies due to scanty rainfall and drought. These lead to financial and social hindrances among individuals as well as ecological problems in the above regions. ACF adopted interventions that had a holistic impact on the community, through the following framework:
• Water Harvesting & Storage: ACF uses traditional practices followed in the region with technology to enhance the effectiveness of water harvesting and storage solutions. Construction of Check dams, Khadins, Nadis and sub-surface dykes in Rajasthan to reviving old mining pits and linking them to rivers and canals in Gujarat, has ensured all year round water supply for our communities.
• Drinking Water: Drinking water solutions too need to be adapted to local conditions, such as, Rooftop rainwater harvesting structures in areas of abundant rainfall, handpumps where natural springs are found, to water ATM’s where groundwater is unsuitable for drinking. ACF educates local communities on the benefits of investing in these solutions, provide technical support for the installations and financial subsidies where necessary.
• Water Use Efficiency: Once water has been made available, the communities are educated about its management and efficient usage.
Through the water project by ACF, water is now made available for additional 3-4 months in the impact areas. Moreover, there is an overall improvement in the health of the community because of the availability of clean drinking water. ACF has built over 160 people’s institutions in the above regions who ensure maintenance of the water bodies as well as educating others about water efficiency.
Commenting on this achievement, Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO of Ambuja Cement Foundation said “We believe in harnessing the power of various stakeholders while addressing societal issues. It is only because of this that ACF has been able to create water solutions thereby sustaining communities across India. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Government of India for honouring us with this award and their constant support in our projects.”
According to The United Nations World Water Development Report, by 2030, India’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual six percent loss in the country’s GDP. Taking adequate measures is the need of the hour in order to ensure water availability across India. The water resource management measures implemented by ACF are replicable and can hence be adopted in similar regions which are suffering from water scarcity.