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The restoration of a pond in India has given the villagers fresh water again.
The restoration of a pond in India has given the villagers fresh water again. Photo: Shutterstock

Fighting drought in India

New hope for the future with restored water pond

The Building Tomorrow Project

Years of drought and lack of desilting made the pond in central India useless. Volvo CE dealer SVP Mining Technologies Pvt. Ltd. teamed up with local customers to restore it. Over 200,000 cubic meters of earth were moved by excavators – and now the villagers can enjoy fresh water again.

A couple of years ago, the situation for villagers in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in India was desperate. For a region in its fifth consecutive year of drought, rain wasn’t the only thing evaporating from the land. Many of the cotton and pulse grain farmers of the region were forced to leave their homes, their land, and their way of life.

In the nearby city of Nagpur, Pramod Patwardhan, Director of SVP Mining took notice. About 80 kilometers outside the city, one pond in particular was responsible for supplying the wells of at least six nearby villages. It was in bad shape.

“Those towns were severely hit by the drought; they were purely dependent for drinking water brought in from large tanker trucks,” says Patwardhan. “The ground water was almost gone. People could only bathe every 8 to 10 days. That’s how severe it was.”

Patwardhan began to work with a friend at NAAM, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to fighting drought and water scarcity in the region. After visiting the pond, he discovered that it hadn’t been desilted in almost two decades.

“At that moment, I decided it was not a week or two-week job,” says Patwardhan. “It was about three months. If you can imagine building a shopping mall and the huge amount of earth you would dig — it was almost that size of a job.”

Patwardhan knew he would need help, so he approached a longtime customer at mine operator Karamjeet Singh and Company Limited, who pledged two dump trucks for the job. Patwardhan provided a Volvo EC210B excavator.

By the time the job was completed, operators had been on-site for 80 days. They had excavated approximately 200,000 cubic meters of earth, leaving a giant hole in the land 20–25 meters deep. When monsoon season came, the pond once again sustained the nearby villages, providing the once-dry wells with water.

And now, for the villagers, the water signifies renewed hope for the future. For local officials, the project provides a potential model for dealing with water scarcity in other regions. But, for Patwardhan and SVP Mining, it was simple.

“I believe in giving back to society from what you earn,” says Patwardhan. “When you really understand the severity of situations like these, then you get personal and decide to invest your manpower and money to support society.”

An operator digs out the pond. The project lasted 80 days and supplied groundwater to the wells of nearby villages.
An operator digs out the pond. The project lasted 80 days and supplied groundwater to the wells of nearby villages.

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