Policies & Issues

When Diamonds Replenish the Earth

Policies & IssuesMar 15, 2023

When Diamonds Replenish the Earth

Hari Krishna Exports and the Dholakia Foundation’s “Mission 100 Sarovar” aims to create 100 lakes to help revive an area of Gujarat.

20230315_Dholakia Foundation water project.jpg
An aerial view of the Dholakia Foundation’s “Mission 100 Sarovar” project, which has brought water to areas of Gujarat that have been experiencing droughts in recent years.
Mumbai—Until the first decade of the new millennium, water was a very scarce commodity in and around Dudhala, a village in the Amreli district of Saurashtra region in Gujarat. 
Vast tracts of land turned arid every summer. The area was in danger of being rendered permanently barren due to sustained drought-like conditions. 
In the hottest months, drinking water too could be hard to come by, even for those who could afford the cost of transporting it by tanker.
Then, one of India’s largest diamond manufacturers, Savjibhai Dholakia, founder and chairman of Hari Krishna Exports, who originally hails from this region, decided to wave his magic wand. 
“Mission 100 Sarovar” (sarovar is the Gujarati word for lakes), a project under the banner of the Dholakia Foundation, quickly took shape. 
Gujarat is home to the world’s diamond capital, Surat, the city which manufactures more than 90 percent (by volume) of diamonds annually. 
It also suffers from environmental ills. Studies revealed that 52 percent of Gujarat’s land mass was facing desertification and other forms of land degradation in 2018-19. 

Replenishing the Earth

The first steps to bring about change were taken in 2008 by Savjibhai. Dholakia and his Dholakia Foundation were determined to bring about change. 
The diamonds his company manufactured to adorn the more affluent now began contributing to the welfare of the less privileged. 
In essence, the mission of the Dholakia Foundation aimed to achieve what is embodied in Goal 6 of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e., “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” 
The 111 sarovars established over the last decade and a half or so are designed to harvest rainwater, replenish water tables and over time, ensure perennial access to water. 
The centerpiece of this unique mission is the Panch Ganga Tirth Triveni Sangam, launched in 2008. 
Initially, it was a mega series of five interconnected freshwater catchment lakes covering 20 villages around Dudhala, Dholakia’s ancestral home. The number of water bodies has risen significantly since then. 
Inaugurated in 2017 by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, this massive network of lakes has a total storage capacity of 5.5 billion liters (1.45 billion gallons) of water and benefit as many as 200,000 farmers in the surrounding areas.
As an ecosystem, the Sangam also acts as a water harvesting structure, being replenished annually during monsoon season. It incorporates a series of check dams, farm ponds and percolation tanks designed to regenerate the badly depleted water table and restore the fertility of the soil.
Construction of this water complex was completed in record time, with the first steps being taken when a group of 400 people, personally led by the Dholakia family, worked non-stop for 23 hours deploying appropriate equipment to help. 
Even Dholakia’s elderly father was involved in guiding the lake construction, while his mother headed a team of women who cooked food for all those involved. 
Given such widespread support, a great quantity of degraded soil could be removed during a short period, thus ensuring that the catchment areas were ready in time for the monsoon that year.
Since these initial first steps, Mission 100 Sarovar has gathered pace and by 2023, 111 lakes had been constructed across Gujarat, with a few in Maharashtra too. 

Green Cover

In conjunction with establishing these water bodies, the foundation has also embarked on an extensive tree-planting and social forestry drive. 
More than 2.4 million trees have been planted across 25 locations within Gujarat, including fruit trees, decorative varieties and some with medicinal value. 
In the process, the foundation estimates that nearly 2,500 acres of desert land has been transformed. 
 Related stories will be right here … 

Another unique structure has come up in the vicinity of the Hari Krishna Exports factory in Icchapore in Surat—a garden around a special water body within the company’s premises. 
This, along with similar structures at the nearby Dholakia Island and at Simada, are well maintained and utilized by employees for rest and recreation. 
The gardens, which have a rich variety of ornamental herbaceous plants, are maintained with the use 
of biofertilizers and biopesticides.

Measurable Impact

So, how has such an enormous effort impacted the lives of the local population?  
A study conducted in 2022 by the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE), an institution run by an autonomous public trust set up by the state government, revealed:
  • Enhancement in the watering frequency for various crops and a considerable increase in the area under cropping; 
  • Increase in recharge of ground water levels, with an average rise of up to 3-3.5 meters in the water table in wells near water resource structures;
  • Rise in amount of irrigated land area, with the increase ranging from about 20 percent to 70 percent depending on the season and resulting in a 7 percent to 24 percent enhancement in productivity of various crops; 
  • Reduction in outward migration of the population during summer as adequate water supply is now available for fodder production;
  •  Increase in the average yield of milk of 1-1.5 liters (34-50 ounces) per day in cows and 1-3 liters (34-101 ounces) per day in buffaloes, with a corresponding rise in milk fat of 0.5 percent-25 percent;
  • High overall survival percentage of new plantations, as nearly 86 percent are in good to excellent condition; 
  • Improvement in air quality; and 
  • Rise in inward migration of birds, including some species never before spotted in the region.
It was only fitting that Dholakia, now widely known as the “Waterman of Saurashtra,” was honored with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, by the Indian government in 2022. 
Yet for him the real satisfaction is knowing that the diamonds he manufactures have had a  lasting impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. 
“I had seen my mother treading long distances to fill a pot and my father praying for good rains every season,” Dholakia said. “Now, they, and thousands of others no longer have to do the same.” 
 Related stories will be right here …

The Latest

Susan M. Jacques
Events & AwardsOct 03, 2023
Gem Awards to Honor Susan Jacques

The GIA president and CEO will receive the 2024 Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement.

De Beers new CFO Richard Lawson
SourcingOct 03, 2023
De Beers CFO Steps Down

Sarah Kuijlaars is leaving the company and will be replaced internally by Head of Planning and Business Development Richard Lawson.

Pandora Game of Thrones Jewelry
CollectionsOct 03, 2023
Pandora’s New Game of Thrones Collection Is Here

Fans of the series can shop for direwolf charms, dragon earrings, and more.

Brought to you by
Top 5 Ways to Promote Safety and Security Awareness Among Your Staff

Awareness is essential to proactive protection. Learn how to promote and maintain safety and security awareness in your business.

SourcingOct 03, 2023
2 Lucara Execs to Step Down in Wake of CEO Change

Chief Financial Officer Zara Boldt and Vice President of Technical Services John Armstrong will leave the company later this year.

Weekly QuizSep 29, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Entrance to Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana
SourcingOct 02, 2023
De Beers, Botswana One Step Closer to Finalizing Agreement

The two have signed “heads of terms” for the tentative 10-year sales agreement they reached in June.

Ali Weiss jewelry store and piercing studio in Roslyn, New York
IndependentsOct 02, 2023
There’s a New Piercing Studio on Long Island

Ali Weiss Jewelry has opened its second store in Roslyn, New York.

Dialog Solutions
Brought to you by
A Conversation with Dialog Solutions

Do you always want the right diamonds at the right price in your store? Introducing Dialog, the world’s first diamond subscription service.

Ashley Kets
Events & AwardsOct 02, 2023
WJA Foundation Awards First Helene Fortunoff Scholarship

A New Hampshire store manager is the inaugural recipient of the grant for up-and-coming women in retail.

Lorraine West Nipple Collection jewelry
CollectionsOct 02, 2023
Lorraine West’s New Collection Points to the Power of Women

Available exclusively at Greenwich St. Jewelers, the “Nipple Collection” will benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Graphic for My Next Question episode on lab-grown diamonds
Recorded WebinarsSep 29, 2023
The Lab-Grown Diamond Market: Where Are We Now?

Watch as Edahn Golan, Sherry Smith and Avi Levy join Michelle Graff to talk pricing and trends in this controversial corner of the market.

692-carat rough diamond from the Karowe Mine
SourcingSep 29, 2023
Lucara Severs Ties With HB Antwerp

The two companies initially partnered during the pandemic and had just signed a 10-year sales agreement in November 2022.

Sonya K. Taylor diamond tennis necklace with tourmaline drop
CollectionsSep 29, 2023
Piece of the Week: Sonya K’s Versatile Necklace

A classic diamond tennis necklace gets a whole lot cooler with a removable pendant.

Columbia Gem House Woz Cuts
EditorsSep 28, 2023
The Gemstone World Is In Its Unique Cut Era

Associate Editor Lauren McLemore recently spoke with Columbia Gem House’s Eric Braunwart about the uptick in non-traditional gemstone cuts.

Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox logo
MajorsSep 28, 2023
Signet-Owned Rocksbox Now Sells Pre-Owned Fine Jewelry

“Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox” offers secondhand jewelry from Kay, Zales, and Jared to members and non-members.

Gold Roman Bracelet from the British Museum
CrimeSep 28, 2023
Have You Seen Jewels Like These? The British Museum Wants to Know

The museum is asking for the public’s help in finding thousands of pieces of ancient gold jewelry and gemstones stolen from a storeroom.

Pam Waclawski The Kingswood Company
MajorsSep 28, 2023
The Kingswood Co. Names New VP, Wins Award

The company was recognized for one of its private-label, consumer-focused jewelry care lines.

Chaumet diamond necklace, circa 1900
AuctionsSep 27, 2023
Antique Jewels Shine at Bonhams London

A rare Chaumet necklace and 20th-century sapphire ring sold for double their estimates.

Stock image of rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingSep 27, 2023
India Calls for 2-Month Moratorium on Rough Diamond Imports

The plea comes against a backdrop of declining demand and falling prices.

Hands pushing a shopping cart
SurveysSep 27, 2023
Consumer Confidence Falls in September Amid Rising Recession Fears

Shoppers also expressed concern about rising prices, higher interest rates, and political uncertainty.

   Platinum Guild International logo
Events & AwardsSep 27, 2023
PGI to Dole Out $500K in Business Grant Program

Participants from the first round of grants saw up to a 900 percent increase in their platinum sales.

Citizen Tsuki-yomi A-T moon phase watch
WatchesSep 26, 2023
Citizen Launches the Tsuki-Yomi A-T Timepiece

According to the watchmaker, it features the first light-powered atomic timekeeping moon phase movement.

Sally Nelson Exclusively Diamonds
IndependentsSep 26, 2023
Sally Nelson, Founder of Exclusively Diamonds, Dies at 86

The former teacher, described as “a pioneer for women-owned businesses,” opened her own jewelry store in 1980.

Crescendo, a 147.96-carat golden citrine by John Dyer for Somewhere In The Rainbow
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
2023 Spectrum Awards Entry Deadline Extended

The contest is now open for submissions until Oct. 10.

Instore show logo
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
Instore Announces Dates for 2024 Show

The annual event will return to Rosemont, Illinois next August.

Gold holiday gift boxes
SurveysSep 26, 2023
Mastercard Makes Its 2023 Holiday Prediction

According to SpendingPulse, retail sales will increase in November and December but not necessarily for jewelers.

Stock image of hands in handcuffs
CrimeSep 25, 2023
Oregon Jeweler Accused of Selling Lab-Grown Diamonds as Natural

Police say Douglas Wayne Gamble also swapped natural diamonds for synthetic stones and failed to return customers’ repairs.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy

Additionally, paste this code immediately after the opening  tag: