Alirajpur: Coca-Cola India aids the rejuvenation of Sukkhad River in Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh to benefit over 8,500 lives
Accelerating its water stewardship programs in India, Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation, in partnership with Rajputana Society of Natural History Bharatpur (RSNH) successfully completed the development of rain-water harvesting structures for Sukhhad River in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Aimed at creating a sustainable model, Sukkhad project will facilitate optimal water for drinking and agriculture to the community which is forced to migrate in search of food and livelihood. Accomplished during the pandemic challenges, the project has benefitted over 8500 people and 1400+ households, about 93% of the indigenous population across the Sejgaon, Rajawat, Palwat, Talwat, Titi and Kharpai villages. Additionally, it has enabled harvesting of more than a billion litres of rainwater bringing 95 hectares of land under irrigation besides offering employment to the villagers during the pandemic restrictions.
Known for acute water crisis and mass migration, select districts in Madhya Pradesh, are classified by the government as water scarce regions in the country. Ranked last in the Human Development Index, the communities residing in the Alirajpur district have been struggling for years, their main source of livelihood being rain fed agriculture. The prolonged poor availability of water decreasing the volume of agricultural produce in the region leading to significant decline in farmers’ income. Coupled with lack of proper planning and facilities for water conservation has pushed communities to source water by traversing long distances making cultivation economically unviable.
The Coca-Cola India Foundation, Anandana undertook the revival of rivulets to facilitate optimal water for drinking, agriculture and overall functioning of the ecosystem. Two check dams and series of structures constructed in the catchment area not just conserve sizable quantum of water but also replenish the ground water levels leading to revival of natural habitat for flora and fauna. The conserved water will potentially support the communities for at least two seasons and farmers can now cultivate two crops every year.
Commenting on the successful completion of Sukkhad Revival Project, Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia said “Water conservation is one of the most effective ways to address India’s water challenge. Coca-Cola India Foundation (Anandana) in partnership with the local communities across India have made a humble contribution for the past 10 years towards this. Thus far we have created potential for 13+ billion litres of water storage across 550+ villages benefitting 8,00,000+ people. We believe, it is our collective responsibility to work with the governments and local communities to find sustainable and effective water management solutions. Our partner Rajputana Society of Natural History has helped us successfully implement the project and positively impact the communities of Alirajpur district. We will continue our sustained efforts in the direction to contribute towards community and environment.”
Commenting on the local community efforts to construct these initiatives Dr. Swati Samvatsar, President of the Rajputana Society of Natural History said “With Sukkhad project, our aim was to come up with immediate, yet sustainable solutions to manage and mitigate the unsurmountable water crisis in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Communities in the region have been struggling with basic means of livelihood due to acute water crisis for decades. We are humbled and overwhelmed by Coca-Cola’s commitment towards this project. It is a great victory for us to have completed the project despite the challenges and restrictions posed by the ongoing global pandemic. With low availability of labor and monsoons disrupting the project, the village communities came together in support and worked on site ensuring project’s sustainability. We are hopeful that with the implemented water solutions, the villagers will reap great benefits in long term.”
Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation is committed towards water conservation and management for the holistic development of communities at large. Since its inception in 2007, The Foundation has evolved and aligned its sustainability efforts to focus on issues relating to water conservation, women empowerment, waste management, biodiversity and nutrition to promote socio-economic development.