Coca-Cola improves access to water for rural communities


World Water Day is celebrated today, March 22, and the theme this year is
‘Valuing Water', which focuses on the environmental, social and cultural value
people place on water, aligned to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 6,
ensuring water and sanitation for all is perfectly embodied by the water
replenishment projects undertaken by Coca-Cola.

Water is central to the long-term success of Coca-Cola’s business and the
health of its communities. The company has taken on the mantle of respecting
and protecting water resources while ensuring water security for the nation.
Globally, Coca-Cola has pledged to return 100% of the water used in its
manufacturing back to communities and nature. In Sri Lanka, the beverage
company has exceeded the goal by reaching 203% water replenishment

This implies that for every litre of water used for the production of its
beverages, the company returns 2 litres of water to communities and nature
through local water initiatives.
Mayank Arora, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages  Sri Lanka Ltd.,
explained, “We set a goal to return 100% of the water we use to make our
drinks. Today we've achieved that goal and even gone beyond, being the first
Coca-Cola operation to do so in South West Asia. Water stewardship remains a
key focus for us and I am pleased to state on World Water Day that we look
forward to continuing this important work that addresses critical water

related issues, which include safe water access and watershed protection,
which are locally relevant and thereby empower local communities across Sri

Access to water is at the forefront of the agenda of the present Government. In
2020, following President of Sri Lanka’s instructions to rehabilitate 5000
tanks across the island, water has been earmarked as a key national priority.
Aligning with the national directive, Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka embarked on key
water replenishment projects rehabilitating ancient water tanks in
partnership with INGOs, We Effect in Anuradhapura and ACTED in
Monaragala, both of whom have a proven track record in working in rural
areas to improve quality of life in those communities.

Commenting on the company’s water stewardship, Pankaj Sinha, Managing
Director – Sri Lanka & Maldives said, “Our water stewardship program is
focused on respecting water as a shared resource. We support the Sustainable
Development Goals and are partnering to help create opportunity for people
through access to safe and improved water services in Sri Lanka. Our
operations in Sri Lanka turned water positive in a special year when Coca-
Cola celebrates its 60 th Anniversary in Sri Lanka. We remain committed to
keep supporting the local community to manage water resources, better”.
“We Effect undertook the rehabilitation of two ancient water reservoirs in the
village of Thammannawa, Anuradhapura, resulting in water replenishment of
275 million litres per year. The renovation of two ancient water reservoirs
restored uncultivated lands in both paddy fields and home gardening and
allowed villagers to cultivate their paddy lands in both the Yala and Maha
seasons and double their income. As a part of the project, a Reverse Osmosis
plant was also provided to the village cooperative which improved access to
safe and clean drinking water. Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. was
recently awarded a Best Sustainability Project Award at The Best Corporate
Citizen Sustainability Awards 2020, organized by the Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce for this project,” he also said.

Rural communities especially have a deep connection with water as it
nurtures their livelihoods and empowers communities to aspire to a brighter
future. Access to water for agriculture and livelihoods for women in the
Galahitiya village in Monaragala was a valuable outcome. ACTED rehabilitated

the Samurdhi tank and provided water pumps which benefited approximately
400 households and 1,700 local farmers.
As a result of the project, an additional 100 acres of paddy field can now be
cultivated during both the dry and wet season, in addition to 150 acres for
field crops such as maize, grains and vegetables. This project has the replenish
potential of 100 million litres annually.

Encouraged by the positive impact of its water stewardship on marginalized
communities, Coca-Cola aims to continue sustaining its water replenishment
projects to give back more and more water to nature and communities.