To help ensure that clean drinking water is accessible to all families of the Sambhar Salt Lake region, Coca-Cola India installed Reverse-Osmosis (RO) units in the area as part of Project Santushti. 

Sambhar Salt Lake - India’s largest inland salt lake, a bowl shaped water body encircling the historic Sambhar Lake Town along National Highway 8 in Rajasthan – is a classic case of “water water everywhere, not a drop to drink”. The area, which contains around 7000 salt pans, is one of the largest producers of salt in the country. These salt pans undertake massive groundwater extractions for the large-scale production of salt, causing depletion in water levels and salt leach into adjoining soil and water. This phenomenon made 90 per cent of all water resources in the region unfit for drinking.

As Raja Ma, a resident of Jhag village, recounts, “We used to share the water at Dheera Talaab where animals and villagers were using the same water table for drinking purposes which made water unfit for humans to drink. When that water dried up in the summer, we had to rely on the private tankers for drinking water which used to come from Bhilawat.”

To help address this alarming issue, The Coca-Cola India Foundation – Anandana - and the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar, joined hands. They came together to install Reverse Osmosis (RO) units to clean the saline water supply pouring into five villages in the region- Sinodiya, Jhag, Bhopa ki Dani, Mordikala and Solawata. Since the units are solar powered, the need for an independent energy source to power the RO units was eliminated. Village level ‘Pani-Samitis’ were constituted to formulate norms and procedures around shared usage of water.

Today with the presence of this RO unit, Raja Ma’s life has been transformed. “With Anandana Foundation’s intervention programme in our village, I can fill a 5000 litre tank with pure water every single day and everyone in my family gets to drink that clean water. As charity, the rich people used to set up drinking water kiosks (pyaoos) during festivals like Baisakhi for other people (for a period that lasts 15 days in April-May). Now we also have been able to set up a pyao just outside our unit as a service to passers-by. This gives me the deepest joy,” she says.

Local ingenuity with a little help from Coca-Cola has gone a long way in making these villages self-reliant for water.