The land on which Anandwan stands was originally barren, abandoned quarry with no surface water. Through the painstaking efforts by early rehabilitated residents, wells were dug to provide water for drinking, domestic and irrigation purposes. Considering the growing requirement of water, reservoirs were built which helped in recharging ground water of the region thus providing water security even during a drought year. More than 30 reservoirs have been built across various project locations of MSS. These reservoirs apart from supplying and recharging water also offer reprieve to the surrounding flora and fauna.
To enhance the catchment of reservoirs, small check dams were developed. These dams are low in cost and easy-to-build and are made using old tyres and plastic waste. With the help of these check dams’ water catchment of reservoirs has been enhanced manifold thus providing water security to the surrounding areas.
All the drains in Anandwan converge into two reservoirs, through a unique bio filtration system the water is treated and the fishes in the reservoir further cleanse the water thus allowing the water to be utilized for irrigation of farms. Also, sale of fishes creates livelihood opportunities.
Abhayaranya the manmade forest in Anandwan is a highly successful experiment of ‘rehabilitation of mines’. Once an arid rocky wasteland, here there is now a colossal biomass bank spread over 60 acres. It also serves and the burial ground for mortal corpse of Anandwan residents, thus fulfilling the philosophy of giving back as much to the environment. Over the years Abhayaranya has attracted a wide range of migratory birds which setup their nests in this oasis.
Dr. Akira Miyawaki’s method of afforestation involves planting a number of different species of native trees close to each other through a logical sequence. This method ensures that forests grows 10x faster, is 30x denser, 100x biodiverse and 100% organic. Close planting of many random trees in a small area, creates dense forest that enriches the green cover and reinforces richness of the land. This leads to co-existence of variety of plants at a time and in fact, each plant draws vital nutrients from the other to grow stronger and healthier.
A virtual border made of trees, Anandwan’s Green wall isn’t its most obvious feature. However, the structure of planting trees on the borders of Anandwan can be spotted only with a bird’s eye view. An effort to increase the forest cover of Anandwan, the green wall is one of Anandwan’s many green initiatives.
Plastic is collected through ‘Shramdaan’ (voluntary labour) from in and around Anandwan and after processing (washing and shredding) is used to make construction material like bricks, mixed with bitumen to make roads and also mixed with cotton to make bedding material like pillow and mattress.
Tremendous amount of biomass generated in the farms and forests is collected by the residents at various project locations of MSS. The biomass includes paddy straw, bamboo shoots, banana leaves, etc. These are dried, pressed and cut into intricate art forms and used for making exquisite cards and posters.
The Vidarbha region in India is blessed with perfect geography for optimal utilization of solar energy. Various applications have been developed and deployed utilizing solar power for steam-based cooking, heating water and generating electricity to power utilities. In the year 2016, Anandwan was awarded the 'Most Innovative Project of The Year’ by American Association of Energy Engineers for implementing integrated solar based project in Anandwan. The solar project has significantly helped in reducing energy costs and has created a benchmark for other villages to replicate.
In the last few years price of cooking fuel (LPG) has been rapidly rising, this demanded search for cost effective and environment friendly alternative. With the ‘Mega Kitchen’ in Anandwan serving 2500 people per day and round the year, alternative to LPG had to be abundantly available. In 2013, after several month of due diligence, Biogas was chosen as the preferred option. An industrial plant was setup adjacent to ‘Mega Kitchen’ utilizing cow dung and kitchen waste to produce about 400 m3 of methane gas. The biogas plant at Anandwan is one of the largest single location setup in central India and helped Anandwan to reduce 70% of LPG requirement.