HCCB's Water Conservation, Harvesting & Efficiency Project100% commitment for 100% replenishment and beyond
HCCB has made significant strides since it launched a drive to replenish 100% of water that the company uses in its business operations. The company turned water positive, half a decade ago.
Simply stated, ‘water positive’ means that HCCB returns more water to the aquifer than it uses in its operations. We at HCCB do this by creating large water harvesting structures, ponds, lakes, storage tanks, check dams etc., that retain rainwater and facilitate its percolation into the ground in the mid to long term. These interventions ensure that the need for drinking water and daily usage requirements of the community are addressed. They also ensure that in the long term, irrigation and other shared community needs are met. HCCB has now raised the bar, committing to return 115% of water by 2024.
Partnering with communities, government agencies and NGOs, HCCB has implemented several water conservation initiatives that have positively impacted the lives of millions of farmers and other villagers. A case in point is our initiative in Betul near Bhopal which is an integrated program for sustainable natural resources and agricultural development. By far the biggest watershed management project of HCCB, the project has transformed the life of around 7900 tribal families who were marginalised and languished due to agrarian distress. We have created a total of 237 water harvesting structures (WHS) in the region as part of the overall initiative.
Through a similar integrated watershed management program, HCCB improved the livelihood of around 1800 people from across 3 undeveloped villages in the Sinnar Taluka of the Nashik district in Maharashtra. Among other initiatives, the project included improvements in agricultural technology for growing major crops; soil and water conservation activities and horticulture and agro based livelihood systems for the poor villagers.
Besides these integrated programs, HCCB has taken up a massive lake rejuvenation project at Nemam in Tamil Nadu to help create water recharge capacity. In all, we maintain around 80 water structures nationwide.
The company has also installed around 60 RO (reverse osmosis) drinking water units at schools and communities across the country. Additionally, we have also installed water ATMs at several places around our factories.
Water efficiency in agriculture
Responding to the needs of the local community, HCCB has helped the farmers in Goblej near Ahmedabad adopt a water-efficient rice cultivation technique called SRI, or System of Rice Intensification methodology. Farming with SRI techniques requires half as much water as normally used, but it more than doubles the yield. If implemented properly, the SRI technique has the potential to trigger the next green revolution in India. HCCB is proud to be one of the enablers of this.
Water efficiency in operations
As a company, we are also responsible for the sustainable use of water in our operations. By using hi-end technology, coupled with behavioural changes, we have made a huge positive impact. Working on the principle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replenish, HCCB has invested in best-in-class technology to optimise water usage in its manufacturing processes through recoveries, secondary use of water by stream segregation, and other water reduction interventions. These measures have helped us bring down our water usage ratio to just 1.5 from 3.5 over the years.
This means that for every litre of the product we make, only 0.5 litres of water is treated at the ETP and then recycled for secondary usage or land applied. Our treatment process is so effective that even the treated water can sustain aquatic life.
Driven by our intent to continue adding value to communities, we are now embarking on an ambitious and expensive program. Our plan is to turn water positive at a factory and at the aquifer level wherever we operate, in all 15 factory locations spread across South, West and Eastern India. The company will accomplish this by undertaking studies to assess the topography and the measures required to fulfill its ambitious plan.
We are aware that water is a key ingredient in all beverages, which is why HCCB considers it its duty to continue to respect and protect water as a natural resource. The company reaches out to all stakeholders in our endeavor to join hands and walk the path, together. The idea is to contribute towards addressing the root causes of water crisis in the country.