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Coca-Cola rejuvenates Sukkhad River in Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh

Accomplished during the pandemic challenges, the project has benefitted over 8,500 people and 1400+ households, about 93 percent of the indigenous population across the Sejgaon, Rajawat, Palwat, Talwat, Titi and Kharpai villages

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Accelerating its water management programmes in India, Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation, in partnership with Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH), Bharatpur successfully completed the development of rainwater 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. Accomplished during the pandemic challenges, the project has benefitted over 8,500 people and 1400+ households, about 93 percent 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 rainfed 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 sizeable quantum of water but also replenish the groundwater 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.

Highlighting the 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, so far we have created potential for 13+ billion litres of water storage across 550+ villages benefitting 800,000+ 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 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,” Amjad added.

Speaking on the local community efforts to construct the initiatives Dr. Swati Samvatsar, President, 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. 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 labour 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,” Samvatsar added.

Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation is works towards water conservation and management for the holistic development of communities at large.

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