World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 and the theme this year is ‘Valuing Water’, which focuses on the environmental, social and cultural value people place on water, aligned to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 6; ensuring water and sanitation for all is perfectly embodied by the water replenishment projects undertaken by Coca-Cola.
Water is central to the long-term success of Coca-Cola’s business and the health of its communities.
The company has taken on the mantle of respecting and protecting water resources while ensuring water security for the nation.
Mayank Arora, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd., explained: “We set a goal to return 100% of the water we use to make our drinks. Today we’ve achieved that goal and even gone beyond, being the first Coca-Cola operation to do so in South West Asia. Water stewardship remains a key focus for us and I am pleased to state on World Water Day that we look forward to continuing this important work that addresses critical water related issues, which include safe water access and watershed protection, which are locally relevant and thereby empower local communities across Sri Lanka.”
We Effect undertook the rehabilitation of two ancient water reservoirs in the village of Thammannawa, Anuradhapura, resulting in water replenishment of 275 million litres per year. The renovation of two ancient water reservoirs restored uncultivated lands in both paddy fields and home gardening and allowed villagers to cultivate their paddy lands in both the Yala and Maha seasons and double their income. As a part of the project, a Reverse Osmosis plant was also provided to the village cooperative which improved access to safe and clean drinking water. Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. was recently awarded a Best Sustainability Project Award at The Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2020, organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for this project.
Rural communities especially have a deep connection with water as it nurtures their livelihoods and empowers communities to aspire to a brighter future. Access to water for agriculture and livelihoods for women in the Galahitiya village in Monaragala was a valuable outcome. ACTED rehabilitated the Samurdhi tank and provided water pumps which benefited approximately 400 households and 1,700 local farmers. As a result of the project, an additional 100 acres of paddy field can now be cultivated during both the dry and wet season, in addition to 150 acres for field crops such as maize, grains and vegetables. This project has the replenish potential of 100 million litres annually.
Encouraged by the positive impact of its water stewardship on marginalized communities, Coca-Cola aims to continue sustaining its water replenishment projects to give back more and more water to nature and communities.
Photo captions: Communities in the rural agricultural village of Thammannawa, Anuradhapura reap benefits from the rehabilitated water tanks by Coca-Cola, together with its implementing partner We Effect.