March 22nd is celebrated as World Water Day across the globe to raise awareness about the global water crisis and support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water. The value of water is about much more than its economic value – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.
An increase in industrial activity for years has led to the depletion of this treasured resource. Understanding the effects of the non-availability of water, corporates across the world have been working effortlessly towards water conservation. DS Group is also among them.
DG group’s CSR vision is “To build sustainable communities by leveraging resources and network.” In order to build such sustainable communities, it has spent a significant proportion of its CSR resources and energies on water conservation. In the run-up to World Water Day 2021, let us look at the CSR initiatives by the DS group towards Water Conservation.
Integrated Watershed Development Initiative
The DS Group, through its CSR initiatives, has created a Water Economic zone by an integrated watershed development project, spread over an area of around 11,000 hectares in Alsigarh and Kurabad, Udaipur. The project impacts more than 23,000 people of 26 villages.
The project focuses on enhancing natural resources, particularly water and soil, which would increase the productivity of the land. The project works towards improving the quality of life of the tribal and rural community by developing possible water resource, subsequently leading to livelihood enhancement through value addition in on-farm and off-farm activities.
The Group has constructed 263 soil and water conservation structures such as Anicuts or Check Dams, Mini Percolation Tanks or Earthen Dams apart from other soil conservation measures like Continuous Contour Trenches, Gabion, Gully Plugs, Recharge Pits, etc. These water harvesting structures have storage and recharge capacity of about 17,57,309 Cubic Meter.
Around 81,267 cubic meters of Continuous Contour trenches have been constructed, which can recharge an additional 3,71,858 cubic meter of water in an average monsoon. These soil conservation measures also reduce soil erosion, which improves the life of harvesting structures.
Providing safer drinking water Initiatives
Khadir, an island in Gujarat, comprising of 7 islands has semi-arid conditions. The availability of water is the biggest challenge in the Bhachau block of the Khadir region, which gets only 150-200 mm average annual rainfall. With an aim at providing safer drinking water to the communities living in these areas, the group aims to construct 27 ponds, 4 wells, 225 RRWHSs at the household level and 1 RRWHS (roof rainwater harvesting system) in school. The project will cover 7 villages and 10 hamlets under the project reaching out to more than 500 households belonging to the low-income groups of the community.
Rain Water Harvesting Initiatives in Rajasthan
Under a project aimed at drought mitigation in the Thar desert region, the group aims at improving the availability of water for drinking and agricultural needs. Under the project, 110 Rainwater harvesting structures (60 taankas, 40 khadins and 10 Beries) will be constructed that would benefit the impoverished communities in 5 remote villages of the Thar Desert.
Additionally, in the Daang region of Karauli district, 37 structures will be constructed to increase the availability of water for the low-income groups of the community in the region. These new structures are in addition to the already existing 13 Pagaras and 25 Pokhars in the area.
Water Conservation and Harvesting Structures in Rajashthan
10 Earthen Nadis will be constructed in Udaipur in Rajasthan, in addition to the 9 existing in the region. Earthen Nadis are traditional and community-managed low-cost water harvesting structures popular in the region.
Further, the DS group has partnered with various organizations in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh for the construction of multiple water harvesting structures. These structures will be able to store & recharge more than 9 Lakh cubic meter of water and enable irrigation of around 700 hectares of area. These interventions will also generate employment opportunities as around 30% of the total investment made for the structures will be paid to the local communities as labour wages.
Until now, a total of 21 water conservation structures have already been constructed and 2 ponds were revived to conserve approximately 4,11,587 litres of water in the Sikar region of Rajasthan.
Spring Recharge and Rejuvenation in Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh
The project is implemented in Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh regions will revive 65 springs in Dhari block of Nainital district in Uttarakhand and 13 streams in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The revival of these water structures will provide water to the rural households of the region, whose main source of water are the springs.
Water Conservation initiative in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh
The DS Group undertook water conservation activities in the drought-affected areas of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh. As a part of the project, four community ponds were revived through de-siltation and Bund improvement. This created an increase of an additional, 77000 cubic meters of water storage approximately, which impacted more than 6000 people in the region.
Additionally, the Group worked closely with the Soil Conservation Department to facilitate the construction of Farm Ponds by the Farmers. Under the project, around 195 farmers constructed their Farm ponds creating a cumulative storage capacity of more than 4, 00,000 cubic meters. These Farm Ponds help irrigate around 127 hectares of land.