Energising transformations
 

Water is a very precious resource which is the very source of life. It is said that if ever there will be a third world war, it would be fought for the control of water reserves. For some communities, however, water shortages have become a chronic reality of life. To help them mitigate this crisis, we have implemented a series of initiatives encapsulated under our Project BOOND. The far-reaching program has converted more than 230 villages in the six states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, from ‘water scarce’ to ‘water positive’ by augmenting water availability and increasing ground water levels. The proactive measures include rainwater harvesting through check dams and roof-water harvesting, renovation and deepening of wells, tank desiltation, as well as construction of farm ponds, KT weir dams, sub-surface bunds, gabions, cordons and mini percolation tanks. Sustainability of the program is ensured by close community participation in these projects including “Shramdaan”.

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Conserving a life force

Several regions of the nation have been facing chronic shortage of water for years. At some places, the situation has assumed critical proportions. To address this grim reality, we have implemented Project Boond, which was conceived and implemented to harvest rainwater and replenish depleted groundwater in some of the affected regions. Collaborating with specialist agencies, BPCL has been making a vital difference to these communities.

Launched almost two decades ago, the project continues to bring much-needed relief by addressing the situation through locally appropriate pre-emptive solutions. Take the example of the Kolar region in Karnataka, where people had to often excavate up to 2,000 feet in order to tap the groundwater.

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Harvesting Hope: WATER FOR LIVELIHOOD

Project BOOND has been bringing back hope to the lives of many by implementing a series of water conservation interventions in several water-deficient regions. Building check dams provides an effective way of harvesting rainwater. The larger measure is supplemented by roof-water harvesting. This accumulated mass ensures perennial availability of water, while also improving groundwater levels significantly. Increasing the number of months that water is available for livelihood results in better income for farmers.

Ramachandran, from one of the beneficiary community, says, “Now I happily grows fruits such as pineapple and pomegranate, as there is no shortage of water now.” Another farmer, Kishore, living in a village about 60 kilometers from Kolar, grows vegetables like cauliflower, tomato and potato. In his words: “During the long periods of acute water shortage, we suffered a lot. There was a time when I thought of quitting farming and migrating to a city in search of a job. But now I do not need to, as we have ample of water here, and I now have a stable income.”

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A Promising Future

The huge success of Project BOOND is reflected in the fact that it has converted more than 230 villages from ‘water scarce’ to ‘water positive’ – a feat considered difficult, or even impossible, only a few years ago.


In regions well-known for its juicy mangoes, the king of fruits has bounced back. Mulberry has also rebounded. Groundnut and pulses – crops well suited to this region’s geography – are again grown widely. Also popular for its roses and marigold, the Kolar region is producing ample of these flowers that are in high demand. Sericulture is flourishing and creating downstream jobs in the silk industry. The rejuvenation is near-magical and has lifted farmers’ incomes remarkably.

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Empowering Communities


The recharged tanks and farm ponds also brought increased revenue through fishery and organic farming. The water collected also serves as a reserve for irrigating a second crop. Overall through this project, BPCL was able to create a significant difference in the lives of beneficiaries with positive impacts on livelihood generation, groundwater recharge, soil erosion control and food security.

Community contribution increases the commitment from the community, motivates them, thus developing a long-term sustenance for the projects. Several committees such as Village Water Committees, Women's Self-Help Group, Farmers' group and Children Water Clubs were also formed to educate and empower participants. This made it an organized effort, where all members of the community are focused and work towards a particular goal. We also held sessions for capacity building of these community groups.

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Nourishing Nature

 

Our projects have been able to increase water retention period in wells, hand pumps and soil moisture retention around Bunds. It has also made irrigation of wheat and mustard more convenient, as less water is required from bore wells. Since 2013, activities such as watershed development, training programs for farmer groups, self-help groups, farmer training organic agriculture, etc. have also been undertaken.


Moreover, we have also been successful in restoring the flora and fauna of the areas around of projects. There is an increase in green cover around the water bodies, accompanied by an increase in frequency of sighting bio-indicator group of organisms like birds, butterflies around the local ecological setup.