Standard Chartered Bank and WOTR Embark on Mission to Ensure Water Security in Drought-plagued Marathwada


Pioneering a Three-Year Project to Enhance Rural Livelihoods and Introduce Climate-Resilient Agriculture in the Drought-Prone Regions of Marathwada

PUNE, India, Oct. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A landmark partnership has been forged between Standard Chartered Bank and Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) to launch a profound initiative titled “Providing Water Security for Drinking, Rural Livelihoods, and Climate-Resilient Agriculture in Severe Drought-Prone Regions of Marathwada, Maharashtra.” In recent years, Marathwada has been at the epicentre of a growing water crisis, impacting agriculture, public health, and social structures. This crisis forms the backdrop for the collaboration, which seeks to provide immediate relief and long-term resilience for the affected communities.

Spanning from September 2023 to August 2026, the project aims to uplift and create sustainable change for 11,347 beneficiaries across 10 villages in the Washi taluka of Dharashiv (earlier Osmanabad) district in Maharashtra. Going beyond mere infrastructural development, the initiative delves into the realms of sustainable water use, community ownership, and climate-resilient agricultural practices. It also includes facilitating community access to safe drinking water through water ATMs, drinking water wells and pipelines. By doing so, it acknowledges and addresses the complex interplay of ecological, social, and economic factors that contribute to the region’s water crisis.

Prakash Keskar, Executive Director, WOTR, expressed, “This partnership and initiative symbolizes a beacon of hope and sustainable future for the communities in Marathwada. Our strategies, developed from a confluence of scientific research and grassroots experiences, aim to holistically address water security, agricultural practices, and community empowerment.”

A key element of the project involves strategic water resource development. This includes establishing structures like Water Absorption Trenches and Continuous Contour Trenches based on detailed hydrogeological assessments, enhancing water storage and ensuring its availability during droughts.

Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability at Standard Chartered Bank India & GBS, commented, “Our CSR initiatives embody our commitment to community well-being and sustainability. The WASHE programme exemplifies this, emphasizing water access, sanitation, and hygiene education. Teaming up with WOTR, we aim for tangible water security solutions in Marathwada, fostering healthier, thriving communities and brighter futures for all, particularly young girls.”

With a strong focus on community mobilization and gender inclusiveness, the project ensures that the communities are not mere beneficiaries but active participants in shaping and maintaining the sustainable frameworks established by the project. This bold step towards sustainable development and community empowerment reflects the collaborative spirit and commitment of Standard Chartered Bank and WOTR.

About WOTR:

WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust) is a nationally and globally recognised leader and think tank in rural development. Committed to eradicating the root causes of rural poverty, WOTR champions ecosystem rejuvenation and the strengthening of community resilience to climate change. By enhancing water availability, improving land and agricultural productivity, diversifying livelihoods, empowering women, and bolstering the health and well-being of vulnerable rural communities, WOTR has made significant strides in transforming rural landscapes. The organisation’s unique approach brings together a diverse range of stakeholders, including practitioners, academics, researchers, trainers, and policy makers, fostering collaborative efforts to build the resilience of rural communities. Over the course of its 30-year existence, WOTR has worked in 5,107 villages across 10 states in India, positively impacting the lives of 4.95 million people. For more information, please visit

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About Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank has been operating in India with a continuous presence of over 160 years making it one of the oldest foreign banks in the country. The Bank has a network of 100 branches across 42 cities. Key business segments include Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking and Consumer, Private and Business Banking. For more information, visit

Globally, Standard Chartered Bank is a leading international banking group, with a presence in 53 of the world’s most dynamic markets and serving clients in a further 64. Its purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, here for good. Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. For more stories and expert opinions please visit Insights at

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