The corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of Ambuja Cement, the Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), has called for a greater emphasis on cohesive and collaborative efforts to inspire sustainable water management and build water sufficient, progressive, and prosperous communities across India.
ACF hosted a participatory dialogue on ‘Investing in Water for Today and the Future’ in association with Samhita, a social enterprise that specialises in developing CSR initiatives. The dialogue aimed to address and mitigate growing issues of water scarcity. The activity has brought together different players working on or interested in the water sector, to communicate the extent of the crisis, provide pathways for investment, and facilitate collaborations across the country.
ACF and Samhita also unveiled the ‘making a case for corporate action in water’ report, showcasing existing interventions in water. These include drinking water, water for agriculture, water conservation and management, and water treatment, to name a few. The report identifies commonalities and key insights from various case studies. It also provides a broad landscape of the stakeholders and their interventions within the cause areas.
Through its Water Resource Management programme, ACF has worked on ensuring year round access to water in the core villages that it operates in. These endeavours have addressed drinking water needs and at the same time have increased water-use efficiency. Through partnering with the government and other developmental agencies, ACF has completed and implemented large scale projects, including 408 check dams, 6751 roof rainwater harvesting structures, and 72 km of canal linkage, thereby creating 55 million m3 of water storage capacity.
ACF’s ongoing water management model focuses on the areas of water harvesting (check dams, interlinking rivers, and watershed development), drinking water (roof rainwater harvesting structures, pond deepening, in-village distribution systems, and water quality surveillance), and water conservation (water user association, participatory irrigation management, and the promotion of micro irrigation).
“India is facing a serious water crisis and going by the NITI Aayog report, the situation is expected to get worse by 2030,” said Pearl Tiwari, Head of the ACF. “The already scarce water resource has been further compromised in quality and availability by inefficiency, mismanagement, and climate change. The goal of this programme is to bring together existing challenges and opportunities, and to take corrective steps towards ensuring water security for the future through partnerships.”