Pioneering a Three-Year Project to Enhance Rural Livelihoods and Introduce Climate-Resilient Agriculture in the Drought-Prone Regions of Marathwada
A landmark partnership has been forged between Standard Chartered Bank and Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) to launch a profound initiative titled “Providing Water Security for Drinking, Rural Livelihoods, and Climate-Resilient Agriculture in Severe Drought-Prone Regions of Marathwada, Maharashtra.” In recent years, Marathwada has been at the epicentre of a growing water crisis, impacting agriculture, public health, and social structures. This crisis forms the backdrop for the collaboration, which seeks to provide immediate relief and long-term resilience for the affected communities.
Spanning from September 2023 to August 2026, the project aims to uplift and create sustainable change for 11,347 beneficiaries across 10 villages in the Washi taluka of Dharashiv (earlier Osmanabad) district in Maharashtra. Going beyond mere infrastructural development, the initiative delves into the realms of sustainable water use, community ownership, and climate-resilient agricultural practices. It also includes facilitating community access to safe drinking water through water ATMs, drinking water wells and pipelines. By doing so, it acknowledges and addresses the complex interplay of ecological, social, and economic factors that contribute to the region’s water crisis.
Prakash Keskar, Executive Director, WOTR, expressed, “This partnership and initiative symbolizes a beacon of hope and sustainable future for the communities in Marathwada. Our strategies, developed from a confluence of scientific research and grassroots experiences, aim to holistically address water security, agricultural practices, and community empowerment.
A key element of the project involves strategic water resource development. This includes establishing structures like Water Absorption Trenches and Continuous Contour Trenches based on detailed hydrogeological assessments, enhancing water storage and ensuring its availability during droughts.
Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability at Standard Chartered Bank India & GBS, commented, “Our CSR initiatives embody our commitment to community well-being and sustainability. The WASHE programme exemplifies this, emphasizing water access, sanitation, and hygiene education. Teaming up with WOTR, we aim for tangible water security solutions in Marathwada, fostering healthier, thriving communities and brighter futures for all, particularly young girls.”
With a strong focus on community mobilisation and gender inclusiveness, the project ensures that the communities are not mere beneficiaries but active participants in shaping and maintaining the sustainable frameworks established by the project. This bold step towards sustainable development and community empowerment reflects the collaborative spirit and commitment of Standard Chartered Bank and WOTR.