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 Climate Change

Rural Development
Published on: Sept. 27, 2020, 10:01 a.m.
Coca-Cola India helps rejuvenate the Sukkhad river
  • The river rejuvenates

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

Anandana, the Coca-Cola India Foundation, has partnered with Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH), Bharatpur, to successfully completed the development of rain-water harvesting structures for the Sukhhad river in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. The project, which is aimed at creating a sustainable model, project will provide water for drinking and agriculture to the local community, which has so far been forced to migrate in search of food and livelihood.

Accomplished despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has benefited 1400-plus households, comprising over 8500 people – which is about 93 per cent of the indigenous population in the villages of Sejgaon, Rajawat, Palwat, Talwat, Titi and Kharpai. The harvesting of more than a billion litres of rainwater has also brought 95 hectares of land under irrigation and provided employment to the local people.
 
 With rain-fed agriculture being their main source of livelihood, the communities living in Alirajpur district have been struggling for years because of an acute water crisis and are known for migrating en masse to work as farm labourers in other areas. The prolonged water scarcity, coupled with lack of proper planning and facilities for water conservation, has forced them to trek long distances to fetch it - making cultivation economically unviable.

Anandana took up the revival of rivulets, and built two check dams and a series of structures in the catchment area to conserve water and replenish the groundwater levels. This led to revival of the natural habitat for flora and fauna. The Foundation estimates that the conserved water will potentially support the communities for at least two seasons, enabling farmers to cultivate two crops every year.

“Water conservation is one of the most effective ways to address India’s water challenge,” says Ishteyaque Amjad, vice president, public affairs, communications and sustainability at Coca-Cola India & South West Asia. “The Foundation has partnered with the local communities across India for the past 10 years towards this, creating potential for over 13 billion litres of water storage across 550-plus villages benefitting more than 800,000 people.”

Adds Dr. Swati Samvatsar, president of RSNH: “Our aim with the Sukkhad project was to come up with immediate, yet sustainable, solutions to manage and mitigate the water crisis in Alirajpur district. It is a great victory for us to have completed the project with Anandana’s support.”

The Foundation is committed to water conservation and management for the holistic development of communities at large, while RSNH works in nature conservation and environment protection along with social projects, to ​protect and ​conserve ​the natural ​heritage ​through mass ​involvement on ​the principle ​of ‘Conservation ​Practices for ​Sustainable ​Livelihood’. ​It works in cooperation with governmental as well as non-governmental organisations at every level, from research and development to organising mass awareness programmes and providing socio-technical consultancy services with free training courses.


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