While the allegations against the bottling Plant in this film are clearly unfounded. Coca-Cola has made and continues to make sincere efforts to be a part of the solutions on water issues in Varanasi, across India and around the world. In Varanasi, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Limited (HCCBPL) has created a rainwater potential in excess of 175% of the total water that it uses for its operations, annually. Likewise, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers in India, along with the Coca-Cola India Foundation have undertaken multiple rainwater harvesting projects to create a potential of harvesting more than 146% of the total water used by the entire Coca-Cola system for its operations in India.

Water is a scarce and a critical resource and it is not uniformly distributed. In India we have the additional complexity of rainfall being limited to a quarter of the year or less, and our inability to capture even that rainfall. The issue of water availability in India is a sum of many parts and not as simple as arguments around denying a certain industry (ies), access to water. That said, areas where there are no beverage bottling Plants are not necessarily water sufficient. Conversely, all areas where there are beverage bottling Plants are not necessarily water deficient.

Coca-Cola is a miniscule consumer of water representing 0.0225 % of the total water consumed by all industries in India.

With regard to references on water usage that are periodically made to the HCCBL Bottling Plant in Varanasi, a report by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in March 2012 elaborates the facts. Responding to the complaint filed by Lok Samiti about drying up of dug-wells, village ponds, hand pumps resulting in hardship to farmers for irrigation water around the plant, the CGWB undertook an extensive survey in and around the plant in February 2012. CGWB observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by HCCBPL plant. The report further mentioned that there was a clear trend of water depletion in 7 blocks of Varanasi district and particularly in Araziline block, the rate was higher. Despite the decline, there was water in ponds, dug-wells and good crops of wheat and mustard were observed in the fields.

People have a right to their views but the facts above are self-explanatory. We remain open to working with all stakeholders – Govt, civil society, communities and other businesses – to work for community wellbeing including water management.