World Water Day 2024

How Godawan's Alwar Distillery is helping to reduce water waste

22 Mar 2024

From bridging gender inequality, to improving access to education, and helping health and wellbeing, we believe access to drinking water is key to unlocking poverty.

That’s why we’re taking collective action in six of our priority water basins around the world, working with local people, governments and other companies to address shared water challenges, and help to build climate and water resilience.

Our Alwar distillery 

This World Water Day, we're focusing on our distillery in the town of Alwar, Rajasthan, India. Seven years ago, the feel of the Alwar distillery was very different to how it is today. Rajasthan is an arid land of extremes, with some of the harshest weather conditions and exposure to the impacts of climate change. Ruparail river is a rainfed river, which only flows and recharges the catchment area during monsoon season. Much of the water used by the communities and our business comes from increasingly depleted groundwater.

The Alwar distillery is home to Diageo’s single malt whisky, Godawan. Aptly called “the spirit of the desert”, Godawan is distilled using locally grown barley and methods that aim to minimise water use, reflective of the arid region where it’s produced.

Last year, the Alwar distillery was the first spirit distillery in Asia to receive the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Certification. AWS is a sustainability framework that recognises credible and verifiable actions that companies are taking to protect and replenish water resources.

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Working collectively for water security

In total over 23,000 people live in the six key villages in the Alwar water catchment area. To enable consistent water availability to our distillery and the communities, we’ve worked collaboratively with other stakeholders to converge our joint efforts for water source sustainability. Some of the initiatives have included:

  • Replenishing over 64,000,000 liters of water annually in partnership with our NGO partner Gramodaya Samajik Sansthan.
  • Constructing four check dams over twelve miles on the Ruparail river covering the villages of Bichhpuri, Mahuwa Khurd, Moreda and Salpur, to regulate the water availability for local businesses, communities and the environment, as well as recharging the groundwater.
  • Improving access to sanitation facilities by constructing over 145 toilets, and the provision of clean drinking water in six villages across Alwar, which will help the development of the entire village by addressing gender inequalities.
  • Working with under-represented communities. We identified the indigenous Bhopa community, who would travel from place to place, so didn’t have access to ID cards, meaning they couldn’t access welfare schemes provided by the government. We worked with local administration to provide these families with access to toilets and washing facilities, improving hygiene, sanitation, and the overall safety of the community.
  • Planting more than 200,000 trees along the river and in the catchment area, in partnership with the District Forest Department to help conserve water. In addition to nature and climate benefits, the trees provide shade along the river to reduce the water temperature. Their roots also help to hold the soil in place, so there’s less soil run-off during monsoon season and improved percolation.
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Building climate and supply chain resilience 

As part of our commitment to collective action, we also work closely with industry experts such as WaterAid and The Nature Conservancy and are active members of cross-industry groups including the Water Resilience Coalition. Going forward, we plan to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders including government, NGOs, academia, and other corporates in the Alwar region to continue to build climate and supply chain resilience. 

The Alwar distillery is Diageo’s 13th distillery to receive the AWS certification and is our first outside of Scotland. Find out more here. 

Our 'Society 2030: Spirit of Progress' action plan takes our water ambitions even further. Find out more here. 

Godawan is helping consumers align their purchasing habits with their concern for the environment and local community. Find out more here.

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