A step towards Water Stewardship- A CSR initiative of IndusInd Bank

By auther pic. Jyoti

October 21, 2019

A step towards Water Stewardship- A CSR initiative of IndusInd Bank

Installation of 250 Roof Rain Water Harvesting Systems

Water is life’s essential building block. Water quenches our thirst, irrigates our crops. It provides energy and sustains life. Our bodies are 60% water, and brains about 73%. The earth’s surface is 71% water. But are we doing enough to keep our freshwater stores safe and accessible to all? Today 163 million Indians lack safe drinking water. Drawing attention to the water crisis that India is staring at, the Government of India’s Niti Aayog published a report on India’s Water Management by states suggests – more than 600 million people face high to extreme water shortage; 70% of our water is contaminated which leads to nearly 200,000 deaths each year; 21 cities including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people. If serious steps aren’t taken in the direction of water conservation, things will get much worse.

Recognizing the urgent need for efforts in the area of Water Stewardship, IndusInd Bank is working towards improving the situation in rural and urban India. For this, IndusInd has initiated the Watershed Development Programme in collaboration with Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR), an NGO, widely popular in the field of participatory Watershed Development and Climate Change Adaptation.

Watershed development is a multi-dimensional approach that is said to be a trusted tool for the overall development of villages living within the watershed area. It additionally includes dimensions like equity, sustainability, gender, and people's participation. The project is being implemented in seventy-eight villages of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Maharashtra, covering a land treatment area of 3050 hectares benefitting almost 60,000 people and providing a recharge capacity of 411 million liters.

A Village Development Committee (VDC) is created to mobilize the community and generate social awareness. These ensured the participation of local communities and the adoption of new and sustainable practices. Also, wealth ranking exercises were conducted to ensure equal representation in the Village Development Committee, provide the required support to the Poorest of Poor (POP) and understand social dynamics for the successful planning, monitoring, and implementation of the project.

After receiving hands-on training, the community members initiated Soil and Water Conservation activities appropriate for their respective areas. They constructed Loose Boulder Structure (LBS), Earthen Gully Plugs (EGPs), Stone Bunds (SB). In one of the clusters, the creation of Water Absorption Trenches (WWT) has begun, which will also include creation on Continuous Contour Trenches (CCT). These treatment methods will bring about a reduction in water runoff velocity, check soil erosion and recharge groundwater.


Building a 2.2 km stretch of the Wazirabad Drain

Villagers are introduced to sustainable agricultural practices through field schools and demonstrations. They are also given training on creating formulations of organic fertilizers and pesticides like amrit pani, deshparni, neemastr and marit khaad through locally available materials.

Considering the severity of water crisis building up across Indian cities, IndusInd Bank is focusing on the restoration and conservation of water bodies, especially in urban centers. In Chennai, the Bank successfully restored the 26-acre Sholinganallur Lake, the Ramchandra Nagar Pond and the Kulappan Nagar Pond that are 1.8 acres respectively. Through its implementing partner – Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) – IndusInd Bank embarked on the restoration of these water bodies using a scientific approach and community engagement for sustainable results.

In Gurugram, the Bank through its implementation partner refurbished a 2.2 km stretch of the Wazirabad Drain. This nallah was built to serve as a stormwater drain and recharge system that was meant to channel the rainwater that flowed from the Aravalli hills. Over time, the nallah was blocked and contaminated with the dumping of construction debris and garbage from surrounding residential colonies and slums, leading to adverse environmental, and hygiene hazards. Through its intervention, the Bank has cleaned and refurbished its embankments. It also removed debris and garbage, secured the periphery with fencing to prevent encroachments, planted trees of native species through employee volunteering and the involvement of local school children.

IndusInd Bank is undertaking the task of installing state-of-the-art community-level purification plants for providing safe drinking water by setting up Water ATMs in 35 villages across five districts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. For the distribution of the purified water, a unique wall-mounted Water ATM is installed on the face of the plant. At a one-time cost, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card and a bubble-top bottle are provided to each household. They can use their card to purchase the RO purified water at an affordable cost of just 30 paise per liter. To ensure inclusiveness, for households below the poverty line, a further concession will be provided to make the cost a nominal 10-15 paise per liter. The initiative is implemented by Piramal Swasthya, collaborating with Piramal Sarvajal for their expertise.

IndusInd Bank is doing its part in the area of Water Stewardship so that no one is left behind.

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Jyoti, a post graduate of International Business, is working as a Senior Analyst Communication in NGOBOX and CSRBOX. A resident of Ahmedabad, she likes to spend her weekends in solitude by reading, with a steaming cup of coffee to give her company.


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