It started as a community effort to manage rainwater better, in the three villages of Chandrapur, Jamgaon and Khaprale in Sinnar block, Nashik district in Maharashtra. As the communities in these villages put their effort together, they managed to catch the attention of the world outside.

Soon, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) and Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and a small beginning got converted into a large scale integrated watershed management project in March 2015. From a situation where these villages depended on water tankers for supply of drinking water for nearly five months in a year, today these water tankers have disappeared. In just two years’ time, the watershed management projects have ensured that there is enough water all through the year for all the needs of these villages.

It has been a simple case of smart planning and simple execution, while ensuring commitment to the cause of the community. This has helped turn a new leaf for these villages.

In Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, the story is slightly different. Here, even though the rainfall for the villages is good enough for agriculture, the erratic rainfall was the main reason for woes for the farmers. When the villagers had enough, they approached the NGO - Advancement for Social Action (ASA), which sought the help of HCCB.

Today, over 5000 families are now beginning to reap the rewards of the efforts of this partnership. An integrated watershed management project, across 38 villages, launched in 2015, with a clear five-year action plan, is already beginning to provide results.

Over 24 months after the programme was launched here, 25 farm ponds, 35 masonry stop dams and other water bodies have been developed. This is helping achieve the key target of improving availability of water for drinking, agriculture and other purposes. The five-year target for the project is to increase the farm-based income for the local population and also improve the ground water situation, among several others.

At Mehandiganj plant in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, local NGOs and Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages installed the first rainwater harvesting project nearly 15 years ago. Since then, the local community has got the support of Hindustan Coca-Cola to commission 38 rainwater harvesting structures helping recharge the ground water.

Moral of the story - one swallow may not make a summer, but it can at least inspire others to join the cause.