FICCI Water Awards presented

Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India, and Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, President, Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), gave the First Prize (Water Initiatives by NGOs) of the 2013 FICCI Water Awards to the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD), an initiative of S.M. Sehgal Foundation, on 6 August, 2013. The Awards Function was held at FICCI in Delhi.

IRRAD’s recognition is for its integrated water resource management program in the semi-arid districts of Mewat in Haryana and Alwar in Rajasthan. Through this initiative, IRRAD helps rural communities achieve water security by ensuring availability of potable water and water for agricultural activities. The main goal is for communities to have

the capability to sustain water security over the long term. The direct beneficiaries of the intervention include the women and girls who collect water from far away sources and manage use of water at the household level; children who often become sick from consuming contaminated water; and the farmers who depend on monsoons and have suffered crop failure due to delayed or untimely rains, which is common in such semi-arid zones. After the ceremony, Jane Schukoske, CEO of IRRAD, commented, "Water is one of IRRAD's flagship programs. IRRAD's team works on rural water issues with communities, corporates, government and NGO partners, who share in the recognition IRRAD received today. We seek to engage more people and partner organizations to address water vulnerability affecting the health and wellbeing of communities in rural India."

Lalit Mohan Sharma, Group Leader, Natural Resource Management Center, IRRAD said, “This award brings recognition to IRRAD's innovative models for improving the availability and quality of water for drinking, household use and agriculture. This award motivates us to further our initiatives of managing the precious water resource in rural India.”

FICCI, in association with Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), launched the Water Awards in 2012 under the auspices of FICCI’s Water Mission, with the objective of recognizing efforts and developing a knowledge base on sustainable water management practices adopted by different stakeholders. In 2012, there were three categories of water awards, namely Innovation, Community Initiatives by Industry, and Industrial Water Efficiency. FICCI added a fourth category, on Water Initiatives by NGOs, in 2013, and IRRAD is one of the first two NGOs to receive this recognition. A panel of nine experts from government, corporate and NGO sectors shortlisted the organizations and selected First and Second Prize awardees after a detailed screening process.

Mr. Ahluwalia said that there is a need for greater awareness on water conservation for optimal usage of the existing resources. The government alone cannot achieve this, people need to realize that water is scarce and we must use it judiciously. Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, President, FICCI, said, “Effective water resources management must be underpinned by knowledge and understanding of the availability of the resource itself, the uses to which water is put and the challenges facing the users of water at all levels of stakeholders."

Other IRRAD staff present to receive the awards were, Aparna Mahajan (Director-Resource Mobilization and Partnerships), Salahuddin Saiphy (Program Leader-Water Management); and Zafar Hussain and Mahipal Singh from IRRAD's Field Water Team.

About IRRAD: IRRAD is an initiative of S.M. Sehgal Foundation, registered as a trust in 1999, dedicated to creating a brighter future for India’s rural communities. IRRAD’s focus is to develop practical, sustainable models for rural development in water management, small-scale agriculture and good local governance. IRRAD envisions rural people across India, motivated and empowered to make their lives more secure and prosperous.

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SM Sehgal Foundation
Institute of Rural Research and Development bags first prize in 'Water Initiatives by NGOs' category, in recognition for its integrated water resource management program in semi-arid districts.