Paani Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation set up by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao in early 2016 in order to work towards creating a drought-free Maharashtra. The team of Paani Foundation comprises of core team members of the Satyamev Jayate show. Mr. Satyajit Bhatkal (Director of Satyamev Jayate) is the CEO of the organisation and Ms. Reena Datta is the COO.
Paani Foundation is approaching the catastrophic conditions of drought with a view of improving the deplorable condition of the villages. The foundation believes that it is the people themselves who have the greatest power and capacity to solve the problem of water scarcity. If people are trained, convinced and motivated, then they will find the required know-how to manage their water resources. By adopting this kind of an approach, Paani Foundation is helping in resolving the water crisis faced by the Maharashtra state.
Paani Foundation works collectively with The Government of Maharashtra, NGOs like WQTR, corporates like Reliance Foundation, TATA Trusts etc. to strategically plan Satyamev Jayate Water Cup. The Cup is essentially a competition between different villages to see who can do the maximum work for watershed management and water conservation in the period of the competition. The competition period of the first edition of the Water Cup was 20th April to 5th June, 2016. The top three villages got cash prizes of Rs. 50 lakhs, Rs. 30 lakhs and Rs. 20 lakhs respectively.
On 17th February, 2016, Shri. Devendra Fadnavis, Honorable Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Ms. Pankaja Munde, Rural Development and Water Conservation Minister launched ‘Satyamev Jayate Water Cup’ at a press conference in Mumbai.
Satyamev Jayate Water Cup has successfully become a People’s movement where people take ownership of their village problems and work together for the watershed management.
One taluka each was selected in 3 districts in 3 different regions of Maharashtra. Koregaon taluka of Satara district in western Maharashtra, Ambajogai taluka of Beed district in Marathwada and Warud taluka of Amravati district in Vidarbha. It was open to every village in these 3 talukas. 161 villages out of 225 (excluding the canal-fed villages in Koregaon, Satara) submitted entry forms that had a valid Gram Sabha resolution endorsing participation. They had to enlist 5 people who would participate in a 4-day residential training.
The competition was held from 20th April to 5thth June, 2016, with no funds from foundation, still over 10000 villagers participated round the clock in Akhand Shramadan Jyot along with Government officers, civil societies like Handicapped People’s Association, Warud Football Club, Giants International, Baramati ST drivers, IT students from Satara, doctors, lawyers, well-off people from cities, actors, writers, journalists, directors, etc.
The competition resulted in astonishing water storage potential of 13680 TCM created which is equivalent to 13,60,000 tankers of water which is equivalent to 272 crores of rupees worth of water annually. Top 35 villages accomplished 75.69 km of CCT (Continuous Contour Trench) in their village, 33.67 km of Deep CCT and 65.5 km of Nala Deepening/Widening. Over 30 villages in 3 districts are on their way to become model villages for the rest of the Maharashtra. Thousands of volunteers are now trained for watershed management. Villagers become confident of transforming their village with their own actions. The partnership of Paani Foundation and government was transferred to villagers and the government officers on the ground.