More than 10 billion litres of replenish potential created.
Over 150 check dams completed over 10 years.
More than 550,000 people benefitted.
Nearly 300 villages covered.

If there are examples of how small interventions can make big differences in the lives of people, a number of projects of Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation, tell the story. The learnings from different projects over 10 years have been replicated across several locations throughout India, helping create water structures that have played a part in solving the water worries for hundreds of villages.

The successes of the small interventions add up to tell many stories. Take Thana Ghazi block in Alwar district of Rajasthan. The district has over 2000 villages, 14 of which are block headquarters. With hot and dry summer, the average rainfall of the district is 668.6 mm, according to government data.

Together with Anandana, the villagers decided to take matters into their own hands. They planned the making of check dams at many locations which helped the water table in their villages go up, meeting the water demand for their people.

The numbers do the talking - 27 check dams have been built, 14 ponds, more than 250 soak pits and soak wells for waste water disposal have been developed, and 33 sprinklers are now working. The holistic approach to addressing the water problem has helped turn around the fortunes of the village.

A resident of the locality, Kanhaiya, points out how commonsensical planning and concerted action can help improve water availability for the local population. He is a water activist in the region and often exhorts people to take simple steps to conserve water in different ways.

Mewat district of Haryana has also seen similar action from Anandana. It is one of the 21 districts in the state and according to the 2011 census has 10.89 lakh residents. The district receives less than 600 mm average annual rainfall.

With Anandana’s interventions, seven nalla bunds, eight well platforms with waste water disposable systems, and nearly 350 soak pits and soak wells for waste water disposal are now working. Since the rainfall is now enough to meet their needs, residents of the village are learning the importance of manmade structures.

The 20-year-old Karauli district in Rajasthan often sees extreme summers, with temperatures reaching 49 degrees Celsius, because of which availability of water becomes a challenge. Today it has 11 check dams and another 10 recharge wells that have been built with help from Coca-Cola and its partners.

Across approximately 150 locations where the interventions started some years ago, positive change is now visible. The water table in the areas where check dams and recharge wells have been built are now rising. The recharge wells have helped in the faster replenishment of water, allowing rainwater to seep into the ground.

Villagers are able to draw water from open wells and hand pumps throughout the year. The agricultural economy of these villages has largely been rain-fed and farmers were dependent on the monsoon for their crops. With improved groundwater levels, they are now able to harvest a second crop during the winter months, adding to their income.

The journey that often begins with the first, small steps is now playing out for the long haul.