Coke’s company-owned bottler in India launched a new water replenishment initiative in 38 rural villages to commemorate World Water Day 2015.

The Integrated Watershed Management Project is a public/private/community partnership. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. and Action for Social Advancement (ASA) collaborated with local governmental agencies and communities to promote sustainable water management and efficient agricultural practices in Madhya Pradesh. The five-year project – which also focuses on land and water resource development and the organisation and development of community-based organisations – will impact 5,200 families and a total population of 30,000.

Eight farm ponds have been constructed through the project, helping local farmers to improve irrigation and boost crop production. Farm ponds have been created in the villages of Bela, Mardanpur, Pathakheda and Dhaniyajan.

Manisha Pawar has started cultivating watermelon, Brinjal and Chilies over an area of 1 acre. Through the project, she receives guidance on seed selection, cropping and irrigation requirements. A check dam constructed in the area is proving to be beneficial for her farm. She expects to be financially self-sufficient in the near future. Parvati Bai of Desadi echoes similar views and says the agricultural practices and effective water management tips gained through the project are driving her crop production.

The project has formed more than 100 self-help groups, 64 of which are linked to banks, making them eligible for bank loans.

Speaking about the project, Ashis Mondal, director, Action For Social Advancement (ASA), said, “This is one of the most comprehensive projects that ASA has implemented so far. Having no plant in the vicinity, it shows the commitment on the part of Hindustan Coca-Cola to support such a big project.”

The impact of the project will be seen in improved ground water conditions, community management systems and increased income from agriculture, as well as human development indices like health, education, housing, and capable community institutions managing local affairs related to natural resources. The project will also improve access to safe drinking water for 3,700 families.