Avinash Ghorpade, a villager from Khultabad taluka, Maharashtra is very busy these days. His normal routine has changed, he hardly goes to the fields, and neither stays at home for a longer time. He even wakes up earlier, around 3.30 am, and no one knows when he comes back. But surprisingly, his family that includes a wife and two sons is not bothered about it. They are pretty much busy with their work and hardly pay attention to his routine. One day, their neighbour Sunita, asked Avinash’s wife, where Avinash stays these days. She casually said, “He is preparing for some Cup.”
For our sports-loving nation, the term ‘Cup’ will automatically direct people’s mind to any famous sports like Cricket or Hockey. But this Cup is far more special than those sports Cup
It’s the Water Cup, an initiative by Paani Foundation.
Paani Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded by Bollywood Actor, Amir Khan along with his wife Kiran Rao in 2016. Inspired by the success of his famous TV show, Satyamev Jayate, Amir Khan realised a necessity to build a foundation that can work for water-crisis issue in rural Maharashtra. The initiative has fulfilled its promises and has shown good results in the first three years.
The famous Water Cup by this foundation is a competition that involves talukas people from all over Maharashtra. In this competition, villages from these talukas compete with each other to store the maximum amount of water in the rainy season by constructing water reservoirs. The villages that store the maximum amount of water in a huge amount of prize money. Lucrative prize money and activities involved in the Cup has made it famous in its first three years.
This year, Water Cup will run from April 8 to May 22, 2019.
The aim of the Paani foundation is to make Maharashtra drought-free. Maharashtra has been a victim of short rainfall for decades. It is considered as a drought-hit region of our country. Most number of farmer suicides has also been seen in Maharashtra.
The government has also tried to help farmers by giving loan-waivers and providing other aids. But these farmers needed to step-up for themselves and look for a solution. Paani foundation came up with the same approach where they wanted to make these people self-sufficient.
They are trying many methods to educate people about Water Management. They show training films, have school projects, some books and have also launched an app in the Marathi language to teach people about various aspects of watershed management.
Water Cup – Format
The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is a six-week long competition in which villages compete to do the best work in rainwater harvesting and watershed management. The participating villages comprise of the team having three to nine citizens. These participants are sent for a four-day training programme conducted by the Foundation. Various watershed management techniques along with leadership and community building skills are given to them.
After the completion of the training, a competition run over the months of April and May in preparation for the monsoon. Villages build water conservation structures through Shramdaan (voluntary labour), raise money for machine work, test and treat soil, budget water usage, implement water-saving technologies, etc. Paani Foundation team help participants for technical assistance. After the stipulated time period, villages are judged on a 100-point marking system.
Top three villages’ are awarded prize money of Rs. 75 lakhs, Rs. 50 lakhs and Rs. 40 lakhs respectively.
This initiative is highly appraised by people across the country. Maharashtra government has announced to contribute in this year’s Water Cup, 2019. Businessmen like Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Deepak Parekh, Ajay Piramal, Rajiv Bajaj and many more have desired to be part of this noble initiative with some financial contributions.
After three successful Water Cups, Paani foundation is planning to expand it to more number of villages in 2019. The third edition of Water 2018 saw the participation of 75 talukas where the capacity to store 22,269 crore litre of water was stored through rainwater harvesting works done over a period of 45 days. This year, the foundation has planned to target 100 talukas and remove Maharashtra’s name from drought-hit states.
While the conversation around water conservation has come to the fore, The Logical Indian applauds the Paani Foundation for such a unique initiative.
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