ITC Limited, a diversified conglomerate, has partnered with the Government of Karnataka to implement a Watershed Development Program that will cover over 10 lakh acres and 100 watersheds all across the state.
The partnership signed earlier this month between ITC’s Social Investments programme, Mission Sunehra Kal, and the Karnataka Watershed Development Department will go into action for three years. It is a component of the state’s ‘Watershed Development for Drought Proofing’ programme, which seeks to cover 1.16 million acres of watershed area across 29 districts.
According to a press release, ITC will form a consortium of experts to train government officials on how to use the company’s drought proofing framework for programme planning, implementation, and monitoring. The industry will pay for consultants, training, capacity building, and value addition for drought proofing, while the government will pay for drought proofing operations.
Committee on Projects
The project will be overseen by a project management committee, chaired by the Commissioner of the Watershed Development Department and convened by ITC, according to the release.
The ITC’s Integrated Watershed Development initiative encompasses over 1.1 million acres in 37 districts across 14 states. Nearly 20,400 rainwater harvesting systems have resulted in a potential freshwater storage capacity of 3.68 million kilolitres, more than three times the net water consumed by ITC’s operations.
ITC has established 44 public-private-people partnerships in watershed development with various governments and NABARD in order to scale up its programmes. Water savings of 20-45 % have resulted from ITC interventions to encourage water use efficiency in agricultural crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, and banana.
The Executive Vice-President & Head Social Investments, ITC Limited, Ashesh Ambasta, commented on the collaboration, saying, ‘For years, the ITC has been at the forefront of water stewardship programmes in India, and our efforts have been focused on expanding the integrated watershed development projects throughout various States.’ Our programmes complement government projects such as Jal Shakti Abhiyan and More-Crop-Per-Drop.’