Incredible India!

I recently had the pleasure of visiting India on a nearly two week business trip. This was my second trip to India in 2016 with both trips focused mainly on helping our operations further strengthen their water stewardship program and explore new partnerships.

I paraphrased the tagline ‘Incredible India!’ to make the point of the credibility we have gained and significant progress made on water resource management in the country. In addition to sustained improvement in water efficiency and wastewater management in our system’s 54 bottling plants, we have partnered with local communities and governments, along with NGOs, to complete projects in some 500 communities across the country.

These projects include helping farmers decrease demand on water supplies through laser leveling of fields to prevent water from running off and introducing drip irrigation.

We also work with communities on rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge to capture monsoon rains for productive use in the drier months.

As important as all these effort are, our work really comes to light when we help people gain access to clean drinking water and the dignity and safety that sanitation facilities bring – yes, I am referring to a proper toilet with running water and soap, as well as waste management.

During this visit, I had the honor of helping inaugurate such a facility at a rural school outside of Pune. I never thought I would cut the ribbon officially opening a school girl’s restroom but I did and was happy as the young ladies of the school gave me tour and spoke of how much of a difference this has made in their lives. This school is part of an ongoing Support My School program where we aim to reach some 1,000 schools with assistance.

I have a 16-year old daughter and when I texted her some photos of the school, students and what we were doing, she texted back ‘Yes, Girl Power!’ I couldn’t agree more.

I missed my family, as I do whenever I travel, but I was somewhat redeemed when they all shared (virtually) in my excitement to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. I’ve been to India many times in the last 20 years and finally (!) made it to the true wonder of the world. Incredible India indeed!

Greg Koch is Global Water Stewardship Director at The Coca-Cola Company.