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ITC Strengthens Its 360-degree Water Stewardship Interventions with Focus on PPPs

ITC supports small and marginal farmers to form Water User Groups (WUGs) in which women also participate actively, thereby ensuring community - based participatory ownership and management of local water resources.

Shivam Dwivedi
S Sivakumar, Group Head, Sustainability, Agri and IT Business, ITC Ltd
S Sivakumar, Group Head, Sustainability, Agri and IT Business, ITC Ltd

ITC Limited, one of India’s leading multi-business conglomerates, has forged as many as 50 Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with the Government and other institutions as part of its integrated and holistic initiatives to achieve water security and rural empowerment across India.

ITC’s 360-degree water stewardship programme aligns with the Government’s key water initiatives including ‘Jal Shakti Abhiiyan’. ‘Atal Bhujal Yojana’ and ‘More Crop Per Drop’. Driven by the Sustainability 2.0 goals articulated by Chairman, Sanjiv Puri, ITC is scaling up its interventions in replenishing water resources and water usage efficiency.

It has also embarked on a programme to achieve water-positive status at the river basin level, focusing on 4 basins across the country. The Ghod river basin already turned water-positive last year. The Company has also partnered with the Government in creating large-scale awareness of the need for equitable water management by participating in the ongoing India Water Week 2022.

In recognition of its efforts in ensuring water security for all stakeholders, ITC also received the 1st prize in the ‘Best Industry for CSR Activities’ category at the third National Water Awards by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India in 2021-22. Over 54% of India is water stressed. Agriculture which forms the lifeline of the Indian economy is vulnerable to the threat of climate change.

Recognizing the critical need to address this challenge, ITC has taken a three-fold approach to drive water security for its stakeholders and contribute to achieving the national goal of securing a sustainable water future for India.

The 3-pronged approach that recognizes the varied climatic zones and rain patterns in the country involves:

1. A large-scale community-based integrated watershed development initiative covering catchment treatment, water harvesting structures development, and groundwater recharge spread over 13 lakh acres in 16 states with over 25,000 water harvesting structures built and another 1.33 lakh acres under biodiversity conservation.

2. A unique demand-side water management programme that focuses on improving the water use efficiency of agriculture with the demonstrated achievement of water savings in the range of 20-45% across select crops and a total savings potential of 496 million cubic metres during 2021-22.

3. Maximizing water efficiency across all its operations.

Commenting on the Company’s integrated water stewardship programmes, S Sivakumar, Group Head, Sustainability, Agri and IT Business, ITC Ltd said “Inspired by our credo of “Nation First, Sab Saath Badhein”, ITC is committed to partnering with the Government in its journey to secure a sustainable and equitable water future for all. Having implemented a 360-degree water stewardship initiative with the help of community participation for over two decades, we have now embarked on a bolder water mission under our Sustainability 2.0 agenda that envisages scaling up our interventions manifold and setting ambitious targets both inside and outside the fence, whilst supporting large-scale sustainable livelihoods.”

ITC’s Watershed Development Interventions have resulted in up to 40% improvement in Groundwater Table project areas. ITC supports small and marginal farmers to form Water User Groups (WUGs) in which women also participate actively, thereby ensuring community-based participatory ownership and management of local water resources—leveraging schemes like MNREGA, over 25,000 water harvesting structures have been built including 3,000 well recharge units, thus creating over 45.2 MCUM water storage capacity. 

ITC has synergised traditional knowledge and methods of water conservation with modern techniques. Specific interventions in select project areas have focused on reviving local traditional water harvesting systems like Ahar- Pyne and Community Tanks. Farmer friendly technologies are piloted and promoted to intensify our efforts. One such technology is Talya tray – an Israeli Technology to capture rainfall efficiently, which has also shown upto to 48% higher yields.

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