The world is facing a severe water crisis due to factors like diverse topography, erratic rainfall patterns and limited and/or sub-optimal water management, and the demand for water is expected to rise in the coming decades.
The focus on water management has sharpened: the Government of India proposes spending nearly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore in the next few years under the Jal Jeevan Mission so that every Indian household has access to piped water by 2024.
Corporate India is equally committed to better water management to ensure water, as a vital resource, is used intelligently and managed well. Companies are focussing on better water management in their factories and going ‘beyond the fence’ to undertake water management projects outside of their facilities in different locations as well.
To help companies improve community access to water, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has set up a dedicated Centre of Excellence: The CII-Triveni Water Institute.
CII’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and the CII Foundation also contribute in water management, water conservation, recycling and reuse of water across sectors.
Wonderful experiences of company-community interaction for managing water are now becoming case studies. These have developed a good model for such partnerships, helping people across the country.
Jal Samruddhi, the Adani Foundation’s water conservation programme, is working in the Tiroda Region, a part of the Gondia district of Maharashtra, and parts of Kutch District, Gujarat. It has helped conserve 10 lakh cubic meters of water and managed to increase the capacity of 98 ponds in 34 villages by 6 lakh cubic meters.
The Foundation also partnered with local Government and the villagers on collection and storage of rainwater. Khet Talavdi came up and helped the farmers with better yield.
Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) built three Community Lift Irrigation Schemes in Farakka, Murshidabad district of West Bengal. This was an area with many marginal farmers and with the lift irrigation in place, they could improve their crop production.
These schemes helped 223 households, most of them from tribal and minority communities. Their income from farming doubled to about Rs.76,600 per acre from Rs. 40,680 per acre.
Bharat Forge Limited (BFL), a part of the Kalyani Group, adopted villages in Maharashtra and participated in the Government’s Jalyukta Shivir Abhiyan. Water harvesting projects were started, and with the help of local residents, these were very successful. As many as 1 lakh villagers benefited from increased access to water and as much as 9 million liters of agricultural water was saved.
DCM Shriram Limited makes use of the best practices for water conservation in all its operations and follows Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) strategy to maximize water recycling using technology. The DCM Shriram Water Conservation Project in Kota and Jhalawar districts in Rajasthan was truly a model in water conservation. It helped in recharge of groundwater, increased the irrigated and cultivable land, and raised crop production as there was year-round availability of potable water.
Efficient water management is the need of the hour and corporate India is playing its part in working at the grassroots to address this issue in an impactful manner.