The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed worldwide every year on June 17, to raise awareness about the threats and consequences of desertification and drought. The slogan for this year’s celebration was Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.
Desertification and land degradation have a direct impact on land and other natural resources which result in reduced agricultural productivity, loss of bio-diversity and vegetative cover, decline in groundwater and availability of water in the affected regions. All these lead to a decline in the quality of life, eventually affecting the socio-economic status of the region.
The goal of the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is not only to talk about the problems, but also the solutions. Cairn India Limited, the largest private oil and gas exploration and Production Company in India, identifies and understands the importance of long-term solutions to fight against desertification and land degradation in their operating sites in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
“We need a strong ethic of conservation and in this role, The WDCD is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled through strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels,” said Sudhir Mathur, Acting CEO of Cairn India Ltd.
Cairn India has taken an ambitious long-term target of covering land equivalent to nearly 50 per cent of the occupied area by indigenous trees. Starting from plantation of 147,900 mangrove plants in Ravva, Cairn India, till date has covered 43 acres with Mangroves in Ravva block.
Water, required at all stages of hydrocarbon exploration and production, is vital for drilling and well development. The geographic reality of Cairn India’s operating sites has demanded for a well-established water management plan.Cairn’s fresh water needs at the production facilities in Rajasthan and Ravva are met by desalination of the saline water they abstract.
“ We monitor the water sources closely every year so that we can know in advance any adverse changes that could occur due to our current water abstraction practices. Recycle and reuse of water is an important part of our water management strategy. Nearly 97% of all our produced water is reused as part of the injection water,” added Mathur.
Cairn’s Unnati project emphasizes training on water management techniques. The horticulture and agriculture program has been scaled up from 1,200 to 2,500 farmers by improving management of water using drip irrigation practices and increasing soil moisture retention through the use of khadins – specialized water harvesting structures. Cairn India have helped build 143 such structures over 250 hectares of land. 60 per cent of this barren land has now been brought under cultivation. These interventions have allowed farmers to practice multi-cropping and grow cash crops such as vegetables and mushrooms.
Dairy Development Programme has helped extend monetary benefits to villagers in the remote, desert district of Barmer. The dairy cooperative program has been expanded; an additional 1,000 households are now enrolled and milk collection has increased to 8881 litres per day. The project has helped women, who are the driving force of this programme, to save money, live a better life and help educate their children.