ITC Limited, one of India’s leading multi-business conglomerate, has on the eve of the World Environment Day, announced a rapid scale-up of its Integrated Watershed Development Programme. The programme has already brought soil and moisture conservation to half a million acres in the country. The Company targets to double the area to nearly 1 million acres by 2018.
As a result of the measures undertaken, both within its operations and through its Integrated Watershed Development Programme beyond the fence, ITC has been a water positive company for the past 13 years. The conglomerate has implemented water conservation initiatives at its facilities have enabled the company to reduce its water intake progressively over the years, despite a significant increase in its production volumes.
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Ashesh Ambasta, vice president and head, Social Investments, ITC Limited, said, “India is grappling with a severe water-crisis and the problem. We believe that businesses exist to sub-serve larger societal goals, ITC has taken water as a priority focus area. Our water initiative is now benefitting thousands of farmers in the nine states of the country.”
“Our programme stands out in its approach of formation of self-reliant, empowered community bodies which take ownership of building and managing water resources, thereby raising productivity and building rural economic capacity. A rapid expansion of our watershed model is a national need which will go a long way in accelerating rural India’s economic resurgence.”
The Integrated Watershed Development Programme is part of the Company’s Rural Development Programme that aims at empowering rural communities and augmenting natural resources.
The programme has till date generated over 4.7 million person days of work. It is an example of how public-private-people partnerships brings out the best resources residing in each segment and enable better success of the projects. It has built over 6,400 water harvesting structures and created more than 1,480 functioning Water User Groups. The programme has brought half a million acres under soil and moisture conservation, benefiting over 1,60,000 households.