Mumbai, Aug 17, 2023, India: Piramal Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank, together, cater to 5 lakh beneficiaries in rural areas to provide safe drinking water through the Foundation’s water initiative, Piramal Sarvajal and Enable Health Society. The program, led by 50% women, members of Village Water Committee (VWC), has now evolved into an integrated water management program focusing on water security and source sustainability in 123 villages and 25 schools across seven states.

To counter severe water crisis, the program catalyzed community ownership by creating village level institutions to plan and oversee water conservation efforts along with decentralized drinking water units, promoting collective action towards water security in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Currently, there are 417 women VWC members leading the grassroot governance and are part of managing the solution in their villages committing towards water conservation, agri efficiency and greywater management. The program has appointed and trained 34 female operators who now serve as local change-makers, taking responsibility for promoting water-efficient practices in villages.

Notably, 49% of these villages are situated in aspirational districts with low Human Development Index (HDI). This program also focuses on building community ownership around water resources and has appointed and empowered VWCs in these regions. This partnership has also benefited farmers through training sessions on agri-efficiency, empowering them with efficient farming techniques, and gaining access to government schemes for agriculture-related initiatives to a tune of Rs 1.9 crore.

Commenting on the positive impact of this program on half a million people, Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability at Standard Chartered Bank, India, said, “It is heartening to see that the Bank’s flagship CSR program, WASHE (Water Sanitation Hygiene Education), in partnership with Enable Health Society and Piramal Foundation’s water initiative, is working towards creating water-secure rural communities by going beyond just providing safe drinking water. Our engagement with the local community, especially women, and empowering them to adopt water conservation practices, reduce agricultural water use, and reuse grey water resonates well with the Bank’s commitment to creating long-term value in sustainable social and economic development.”

Sangeeta Mamgain, Lead Climate and Sustainability program at Piramal Foundation, said, “We are humbled to see the ownership of the community in adopting decentralized safe drinking water solutions and behavior changes for enabling water security. We are grateful for transformative impact our partnership with Standard Chartered Bank and Enable Health Society has achieved for half a million beneficiaries across seven states.”

Piramal Sarvajal has been at the forefront in using technology to enhance reliability and accountability in its decentralized programs. Monitoring 751 water solutions through IoT, they measure the conservation and replenishment of 2.79 crore liters of water, ensuring efficient management of storage and bore well recharge structures.

The impact study conducted by Enable Health Society reveals 76% reduction in water borne illness for users consuming safe water. Furthermore, the data demonstrates over 61% lower medical expenses for Sarvajal users compared to non-users during the eighteen month period, highlighting the tangible health benefits of having access to safe drinking water.