The state of Uttarakhand is located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range and is ecologically fragile. It has been devastated by floods in the recent past.

In April 2019, ICICI Bank sanctioned a grant to Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) for water management and conservation at three locations in Uttarakhand and at one location in Uttar Pradesh. This initiative has been implemented with support from the state forest department, local partner organisations and local communities.

HESCO is a registered society that helps villagers living at higher altitudes by applying technical knowledge to improve the quality of their lives. HESCO’s innovative and ecologically sound solutions have yielded positive results in the areas where it operates.

The interventions at the locations included trenching, construction of check dams and improving the green cover by planting indigenous, ecologically sound trees. The project also encompassed the installation of six collapsible low-cost steel bridges across rivers where accessibility used to be a challenge during the rainy season.

The benefits of this project include prevention of water run-off and recharging of underground aquifers and water bodies. The use of trenches has led to higher moisture in the soil which has helped in ecological conservation.

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Projects for Water Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihood Generation in Maharashtra