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Working with farmers to save water

Our Priorities: Water

'Working with farmers to save water'

SABMiller India

At its Rochees brewery in the water-stressed Alwar district in Rajasthan, SABMiller India has initiated a number of programmes to protect the water supply for the brewery and local farmers. The region has traditionally suffered from over-extraction and poor water management. This has resulted in a significant drop in the aquifer level which poses serious risks to both SABMiller India and the livelihoods of local communities.

In response, SABMiller India is working in two main areas. Firstly, it has funded the construction of four water recharge dams. These relatively low-cost structures aim to prevent the excessive run-off of water and facilitate the natural water replenishment of the groundwater. Since their construction, it is estimated that there has been a net rise of the groundwater by 31 feet, representing almost as much water as was extracted last year by the brewery.

Secondly, SABMiller India is working with local farmers in the watershed to help them reduce their water use. So far, demonstration fields have been established in 10 villages in the local area. These fields are used to showcase improved water-efficient plant varieties and irrigation techniques and more water-efficient crops such as millet, cauliflower and okra.

Working with farmers

The results have been encouraging. Farmers who have taken-up some of the improved plant varieties have been able to both decrease their water use and improve their incomes. For example, in case of millet and okra, farmers have improved their earnings by 114% and 147% respectively.

These programmes have been run in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management.

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