ICRISAT Watershed Project Wins Laurels for Eco-Restoration Efforts

A new percolation tank with a 3000 m3 capacity constructed in Patnikota, Andhra Pradesh, for storage of harvested rainwater.

A new percolation tank with a 3000 m3 capacity constructed in Patnikota, Andhra Pradesh, for storage of harvested rainwater.

A case study about a watershed management initiative by UltraTech Cements Ltd (UTCL) and ICRISAT was recently named as one of the best case studies at a unit-level contest by the Aditya Birla Group (ABG).

This initiative of UltraTech in partnership with ICRISAT is reviving livelihoods of more than 500 households in two villages – Patnikota in Kurnool district and Ayyavaripalli in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh state. Water scarcity, low soil fertility, unemployment of landless laborers and low agricultural productivity are some of the issues that the project is addressing.

Watershed interventions have led to 1–2.5 meters higher groundwater levels, providing lifesaving irrigation to nearly 410 ha of cultivable area in both the villages and about three irrigations during the post-rainy season for about 137 ha of millets or short-duration vegetable crops. In 2020-21, a total of 121,500 m3 of rainwater was harvested through 24,150 m3 additional storage capacity that was created to meet crop needs during critical growth stages and to irrigate the post-rainy crops. Improved high-yielding and drought-tolerant crop varieties were introduced to farmers and crop diversification is being advocated. Soil health mapping has helped identify and rectify mineral deficiencies in the soil and eco-friendly pest management methods are also being disseminated.

The contest entry ‘Improving Livelihoods through Integrated Watershed Management Approach through UTCL & ICRISAT Watershed Project at Andhra Pradesh Cement Works’ is a unique initiative that stood out from 27 other entries received for the contest across the Aditya Birla Group. The contest was organized to celebrate the efforts made towards eco-restoration by individual ABG businesses as part of commemorating World Environment Day 2021.

The following criteria were taken into account for the analytical selection process before deciding the winning case studies:

  • The driving force behind the initiative (compliance or beyond compliance) and the process followed, including collaboration with partners, stakeholders, planning and long-term objective.
  • Case study impact: a) Developing an ultimate eco-system – wetland, agricultural, forest, grassland b) Showcasing a mix of biodiversity.
  • Scale of implementation.

Congratulating the team behind this initiative, Mr MSRK Prasad, Senior Vice-President, HR, Andhra Pradesh Cement Works, said, “Once again, thanks to the ICRISAT team for the excellent support and efforts towards the Watershed Project development implemented at Patnikota and Ayyavaripalli villages of the Andhra Pradesh Cement Works Unit.”

Click here for a detailed account of this project: Changing rainfall erodes a landscape. Watershed interventions halt the downward spiral – ICRISAT

  • (L–R) Mr Ch Anjan Prakash, HoD, CSR, UTCL; Dr Rajesh Nune, Hydrologist, ICRISAT Development Center; Ms Vani Anamdas, Sr Manager, Housing and Food Services, ICRISAT; Mr Keshav Nooguri, Unit Head, APCW and Mr MSRK Prasad, Senior Vice-President, HR, APCW, at a training session on millet-based baking products at UltraTech Cements, Tadipatri, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
  • Progressive farmers from the watershed project villages on an exposure visit to ICRISAT witness the workings of Tropicultor – the Broad Bed and Furrow land management machine.
  • ICRISAT food management staff conducting a training program on millet-based cooking and baking products for women of the CSR project villages.

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