Women play a critical role in managing water for their families, on farms, and in their communities, but their contributions as water managers and providers are often overlooked in many parts of the world. Recently, the #WaterMatters: Agenda 2030 alliance of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) honored 41 “Women Water Champions” (WWCs) in India for their exemplary efforts in making path-breaking efforts toward improved water management.
Among the recipients of the WWC award this year were Kanchan Jadhav and Ujjwala Gaghade, farmers from Junnar Taluka, Pune District in the State of Maharashtra, India. Recognized for their adoption of innovative water-saving irrigation methods, both women have also increased their crop yields and trained fellow farmers in water management and conservation, crop water management techniques, and the use of drip irrigation.
Located within the Kukadi command area, Kanchan and Ujjwala received support from ITC Limited in collaboration with the Water Resources Department (WRD), Government of Maharashtra. ITC and WRD signed an MoU facilitated by the 2030 Water Resources Group partnership in Maharashtra, under the workstream on Command Area Water Productivity. ITC signed the MoU to work in four command areas measuring around 200,000 hectares to capacitate the farmers and Water User Associations for water-use efficiency, productivity, and market linkages. ITC has been active in the area since June 2018.
“Water is like gold in terms of value,” says Kanchan. “Everyone should value it and use it as required and keep it secure for tomorrow.”