Water has always been a key concern in the state of Rajasthan, as it is a drought prone region. The ancient ponds in the region have been the primary source of drinking water and the local people have shown their active involvement in the preservation of these ponds.
As a part of its consistent efforts to support drought-prone villages, Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), the corporate social responsibility arm of Ambuja Cements Limited, has been working towards reviving the ancient ponds of Rajasthan through its flagship water resource management initiatives.
A full pond can fulfil the needs of one lakh people for a year. Apart from the ‘Lakholav’, Mundwa has other ponds named ‘Gyan’, ‘Pokhandi’ and ‘Motelav’. But ‘Lakholav’ is the lifeline of Mundwa and its surrounding villages.
Ambuja Cement Foundation’s major component of the water conservation project was to revive ‘Lakholav’. The success of this effort has been so widespread that for the last 3- 4 years, the ‘Lakholav’ pond has been providing safe drinking water to all parts of Marwar Mundwa throughout the year. This in an area that used to consistently witness severely low water levels to now being 7.99 times water positive.
Mr Neeraj Akhoury, MD & CEO, Ambuja Cements Ltd. said, “ACF has consistently worked to enhance the lives of rural people by addressing the crucial issues such as access to clean and safe water through water conservation programmes. Our focus on water resources development and management, especially in water scarce areas, will continue to grow further through persistent interventions and collaboration with the local communities.”
Ambuja Cement deployed machinery for excavation, shaping and desilting of ‘Lakholav’, whilst the villagers offered labour and machines to shift the huge amounts of soil. An additional storage capacity of 3,626 cubic meters was created and the high-nutrient soil that was removed was added to the topsoil in the surrounding fields.
The groundwater in Marwar region is very deep and saline. Its high fluoride content makes it unsafe for consumption. Hence, ‘Lakholav’ serves as the main water source. Even though the water of the Indira Canal reached Mundwa about four years ago, most villagers still drink water from the ‘Lakholav’.
Ms Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “India will face an unparalleled water crisis in the near future as the demand will exceed supply. Thus, the primary objective of ACF is to tackle the water shortage that inhabitants of the community confront on daily basis even today. We have worked towards restoring the age-old ponds of Rajasthan which have been traditionally the main source of water. We take pride in the fact that the revival of ‘Lakholav’ pond is one such successful endeavour, which has facilitated every household with access to safe drinking water in the Nagaur district.”
Working closely with the local authorities to fulfil their water schemes, ACF has successfully harvested 1.58 million cubic meters (MCM) of water and built a treatment plant of 1,00,000 litre water capacity. These endeavours have addressed drinking water needs and at the same time increased water-use efficiency in the region.