3 ways we’re tackling water challenges in India
In 2021, we announced our water stewardship target to replenish 120% of the water we consume, on average, across our offices and data centers by 2030. We also committed to support water security in communities where we operate. Today, on World Water Day, we're sharing updates on three partnerships that help address water scarcity and access challenges in watersheds where we operate in India, which faces some of the toughest water challenges in the world.
India faces acute water stress, supporting 18% of the world's population, but with access to just 4% of the world's freshwater resources. Climate change will likely accentuate the water-scarce conditions facing communities across India.
Addressing these challenges will take collective action. To help, we’re working through local partners to restore a lake in Hyderabad, reopen 20 wells in three cities and expand access to clean water in Hyderabad communities. These projects not only support our replenishment and water security goals, they also help strengthen public health in the communities that make up an important part of our global workforce.
Restoring Mullakathuva Lake
Hyderabad, India, was once renowned for the number and beauty of its lakes — both natural and artificial. Over time, due to encroachment and other human activity, several of these lakes have either disappeared or are unable to sustain aquatic life.
We’re working with the United Way of Hyderabad to begin the restoration of the Mullakathuva Lake in northwest Hyderabad, which suffers from poor water quality because of sewage, silt and other debris. Project partners are clearing silt from the lake bottom and removing debris to expand the lake’s storage capacity, and they’re creating wetlands to help treat inbound pollution.
The project team is also planting trees and other wetland species to improve habitat quality and create recreational green space for the community.
Project volunteers plant trees around the Mullakathuva Lake in Hyderabad, India, to improve habitat quality and create more local green space.
Reviving 20 local wells
People across India rely heavily on groundwater wells and rainwater harvesting pits for their daily needs. Plus, the wells serve as gathering spaces for communities. When the water levels in these wells deplete or the wells become unusable, whole communities are affected.
We’re working with CLEAN International, a clean water nonprofit, and SayTrees, a Bangalore-based environmental NGO, to clean and repair 20 wells across urban communities in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Gurgaon, so they’re ready to capture water from monsoon rains. This effort will also help restore the water table in surrounding areas.
The project team is covering the wells to keep out new debris that can clog them up and installing pumps so it’s easier for residents or local park operators to use them. This improved water access will also make it easier for local residents to grow their own food.
“Well restoration in India has a lasting impact both on groundwater and on local communities, providing thousands of people with the daily access they need to sustainable water,” says Kapil Sharma, founder of SayTrees.
Expanding access to clean water
Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services is often known as WASH access. To help communities in Hyderabad and surrounding areas address these challenges, we’re working with the international nonprofit WaterAid to improve WASH access in a few ways:
- Handwashing stations: WaterAid is building 25 handwashing stations in schools, early childcare centers and healthcare facilities in and around Hyderabad.
- Water infrastructure: In 21 institutions, including schools, healthcare facilities and early childcare centers, WaterAid is improving basic WASH infrastructure, including piped water supply, expanding access for 3,000 people.
- Household drinking water: In 20 communities around Hyderabad, WaterAid is improving household drinking water access through last-mile pipe infrastructure upgrades.
In all, these efforts will provide WASH access to nearly 9,000 local residents in support of healthier communities.
While water stress is a global challenge, it’s a local issue that affected communities feel every day. Solving it requires strong local partnerships. Through these three partnerships, we’re excited to collaborate with local organizations to benefit watersheds and communities.