Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Out of a total geographical area of 329 million hectares, 175 million hectares of land in India has been classified as "degraded". Most of this area is rain fed and prone to recurring drought. Further, about 65% of the net sown area in India falls into the category of "rain fed". The purpose of watershed development is to rehabilitate and conserve the land and water resources in these areas for food and livelihood security. Watershed development has become the main intervention in natural resource management in India. Watershed development programs not only protect and conserve the environment, but also contribute to livelihood security. Watershed development programs in the country are funded largely by the government, which has made substantial budgetary provisions for the rehabilitation and development of microwatersheds. Programs are funded also by international organizations such as World Bank, DANIDA, DFID, SIDA, SDC, IFAD and the Indo-German Watershed Program. Definitions
What is a watershed? Water Shed: A line separating two river basins---drainage or a catchment area Water Shed: Land that stores rain water or snow water in its soil and eventually gives up this water to form a river or a stream is called water shed. Watershed is also Known as a drainage basin A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, or, ultimately, the ocean. A watershed is all the land and water area which contributes runoff to a common point. The watershed above any point on a defined drainage channel is therefore all the land and water areas which drain through that point. Water Shed: Region OF LAND that contributes water to a stream, lake or other body of water A watershed refers to the geographical area from where the water comes, with all its existing social, economic and physiological characteristcs. A watershed is all the land and water area which contributes runoff to a common point. The watershed above any point on a defined drainage channel is therefore all the land and water areas which drain through that point. What is a watershed approach? A watershed approach is a flexible framework for managing water resource quality and quantity within specified drainage areas, or watersheds. What is a watershed plan? A watershed plan is a document that results from the watershed planning process and provides assessment and management information for a geographically defined watershed, including the analyses, actions, participants, and resources related to development and implementation of the plan. These plans provide a road map to help you identify the problems, set goals, and implement solutions in your watershed. Watershed management Watershed management is the participatory process of guiding and organizing land use and use of other resources in a watershed for sustainable provision of desired goods and services to the people without adversely affecting soil and water resources. Embedded in this concept is the recognition of the interrelationships among land use, soil and water, the


S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Knowledge about the hydrological cycle is necessary for watershed development

Size of the watershed Watershed may be of any size A small hill that yield a stream Raised portion of land that extends many miles and supplies a river Large drainage basin extends to thousands of miles.
Evolution of “Watershed Plus” In the past, watershed development programs in India mainly concentrated on the technical aspects of soil and water conservation. These programs often failed to achieve their objectives, or were not sustained, because the intended beneficiaries of these programs were not involved. In fact, watershed projects sometimes increased disparities between small and big farmers, because technical inputs were "hijacked" by the large farmers who were the dominant groups in the village Experience and learning from the field has brought into focus various issues and dimensions of watershed development, which had not been recognized before. Several local initiatives by nongovernment organizations (NGOs) highlighted the need for community participation, and the government responded by integrating this learning into what is now referred to as the “Common Guidelines for Watershed Development” of the Ministry of Rural Development. These guidelines came into effect in 1995. With the understanding that community involvement was the pre-requisite for the successful implementation of the watershed development program came the concept of “watershed plus”, which implies that watershed development goes beyond soil and water conservation to encompass social and equity aspects as well. It also emphasizes that watershed development is an integrated, inter-sectoral program whose success depends on how “integrated” the approach is in its implementation.

Vegetative cover in the WS area—soaks rain water, arrest rapid runoff of surface water— soak down and trickle down to the water table.

S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

The term Watershed refers to an area which has a ridge line on three sides and whose surplus run off is drained out from a drainage point. Big watersheds separate drainage basins. Watersheds can be as small as 50 hectares in hilly areas and as large as 5000 to10000 hectares or even more elsewhere. Sometimes the catchment area of a small seasonal stream could also be considered as a watershed or sub watershed. The size of the watershed to be choosen for land development / soil conservation depends upon the objectives of the land development planning to be attempted in a particular water shed. River valley in India Damodar River (541 Km-336 Miles) flows through Bihar and West Bengal. It is notorious and known for its erratic character—for the last 150 years—floods occurred more than 17
All rivers start at the highest point in an area. As the river flows downstream, it gains more water from other streams, rivers, springs, added rainfall, and other water sources. What is a river? A river is fresh water flowing across the surface of the land, usually to the sea. It flows in a channel. The bottom of the channel is called the bed and the sides of the channel are called the banks. River: A large stream of water flowing over the land. A river is any natural stream of fresh water, which flows, in a well-defined channel. River Basin: A whole region drained by a river with its tributaries Where do rivers begin and end? Rivers begin in mountains or hills, where rain water or melting snow collects and forms tiny streams called gullies. Gullies either grow larger when they collect more water and become streams themselves or meet streams and add to the water already in the stream. How are rivers formed? When one stream meets another and they merge together, the smaller stream is known as a tributary. It takes many tributary streams to form a river. What do Rivers provide? Most settlements were built along major rivers. Rivers provide us with food, energy, recreation, transportation routes, and of course water for irrigation and for drinking. Why are rivers important? Water Rivers carry water and nutrients to areas all around the earth. They play a very important part in the water cycle, acting as drainage channels for surface water. Rivers drain nearly 75% of the earth's land surface. Habitats Rivers provide a habitat and food for many of the earth's organisms; their powerful forces create majestic scenery Transport Rivers provide travel routes for exploration, commerce and recreation. Farming River valleys and plains provide fertile soils. Farmers in dry regions irrigate their cropland using water carried by irrigation ditches from nearby rivers. Energy Rivers are an important energy source. During the early industrial era, mills, shops, and factories were built near fast-flowing rivers where water could be used to power machines. Today steep rivers are still used to power hydroelectric plants and their water turbines. Rivers Glossary Tributary ;a stream flowing into or joining a larger stream Distributaries’ ;any of the numerous stream branches into which a river divides where it reaches its delta Upstream ;moves toward headwater (up the regional slope of erosion) Downstream ;moves toward mouth of river (delta) Delta ;a large, roughly triangular body of sediment deposited at the mouth of a River Meander

times—inundating villages up to 6-7 feet –caused heavy damage –malarial fever—disturbed by this WB Government appointed Damodar Flood Enquiry Committee—the committee

S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

submitted its report in 1945—they secured the services of Voorden, senior engineer of TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). Where is the water Voordun suggested to set up a separate authority to manage the river basin—based on this Damodar Valley Corporation Act was passed in 1948. Functions of the RV Corporation Objectives of River Valley Planning 1. Promotion and operation of schemes for irrigation water supply and drainage. 2. Generation , transmission and distribution of electrical energy 3. Flood control. 4. Promotion and control of navigation in the river and its tributaries and channels. 5. Promotion of afforestation and control of soil erosion. 6. Promotion of public health, agricultural, industrial, economic and general well being of the river valley and its area of operation.
**For more details see Mahesh Chand & Puri— Chapter.10. Experiments in interstate planning

Hierarchy of Water shed /River valley Stream water shed form a convenient areal unit for planning. A large river basin like Cauvery can be broken in to hierarchic system of smaller basins. Each smaller basin exactly fits within the next large unit.
Finger tip tributaries Order 1

Stracher’s system of Watershed Order Junction of two first Order of the watersheds can be designated. order tributaries Order 2 Stracher’s system designates the fingertip tributaries as order 1.The channels formed by the junction of two first order channels are designated as order 2.and the channels formed by the junction of two second Junction of two second order channels are designated as order order channels Order 3 3.and so on. Water shed is an area, which drains into a river. Hierarchies of watersheds are then hierarchy of river. The largest water shed is formed by third level tributary, within which the second and first level watersheds fall.


S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Watershed management includes Capacity development and training (human resource development, community development, institutional development) Natural resources management (soil and land management, water and forest management, rural energy management) Improving farming systems (crop management, pasture/fodder development, livestock management) Sustainable rural livelihoods (farm and non-farm value addition activities) Conflict management (e.g among social groups, between upstream and downstream users)

Advantages of watersheds as units of planning: Edaphic changes in soil and vegetation reflect location within the watershed, as the physical features of a basin directly affect the hydrologic characteristics of the streams draining it. Water sheds, therefore form the appropriate units for intervention in flood control, navigation, hydroelectric power generation, soil conservation, water, management, crop planning etc. WS is an ideal aerial unit for planned development of natural resources. Watersheds offer a complete eco systemic balance between topography, rain fall, vegetation and animal life. Watersheds contribute a spatial eco-system in which the smallest watershed is originally linked to largest watershed. If the watershed resources are used without keeping this eco-systemic interaction in view, the system is rendered unbalanced and several negative forces do not allow the rebuilding of resources like soil ,vegetation etc.
Watershed management integrates Various forms in which water is available (e.g. rainfall, rivers, lakes, groundwater) with forms of water storage and water harvesting Competing water use sectors (agriculture, households, industry, ecosystems and tourism) Relevant policy fields (agricultural policy, forest policy, rural development, human development, social policy) Watersheds with water catchments and river basins

Identification of watersheds for micro-level planning Watersheds can be different sizes depending upon the order of the stream. Eg. Cauvery basin –within it there is Kabini basin. The question is which size of the watershed should be used in integrated rural area planning? • The optimum size of a micro watershed largely depends on the specific emphasis of the development program. • If the program aims at Size of the watershed depends upon the objectives: integrated area development Planning for soil and water conservation; by raising contour as in the case with DPAP, the bunds to conserve rainwater—optimum size 500-700 emphasis is clearly around hectares. optimum utilization and Collection of surface run off for drinking water—farm ponds conservation of land and or tanks Flood control—large size river basins. water resources. Based on the Peoples participation nature of soil and vegetative cover, surface runoff of the rain water may be quickened or slowed down. • As watersheds increase in size, they become more complex with regard to slope, topography, soil and vegetative cover.

S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

• Watershed management is primarily concerned with planning the land use to landscapeland use planning is closely linked with the family activity. • The basic unit for micro-level planning should be a farming locality within a radius of five kilometers. • The optimum size of a micro watershed for integrated rural development should there- fore be no more than 10000 hectares. A size between 5000 to 10000 hectares would possibly the optimum size. • The actual size of the micro-watershed should, however be determined in accordance with the topographic characteristics of soil texture and composition, vegetative cover and the existing land use. • Funds available for micro watersheds planning are limited – hence it can be better utilized in a small area to restore the ecological balance. • As the ultimate purpose of watershed management is to improve the quality of human life, the size of the population should also taken into account while determining the optimum size of the watershed • In areas of high population density, the higher area limit and in the area of sparse population, the higher area limit should the deciding criteria Steps in watershed Planning After identification the next step is to prepare a land use plan. Land use plan is to be prepared as under: 1. Contour mapping of 5 mts interval 2. Existing land use map preparation. This map should show the land under forest, pastures, field crops, and other crops like plantation, fruits etc. 3. A map showing the soil types. 4. A map showing the streams within the watershed, all tanks, all canals, and their distributaries. 5. A map showing all areas irrigated by various methods eg. wells, canals, tanks etc 6. Map showing all human settlements – rural/urban with important economic and social facilities such as health Centre, schools, vet.hospitals, drinking water, communication (post & telegraph) facilities and other public institutions like co-operatives, banks, police station etc. 7. A map showing the road net work with bus facilities all this means that watershed planning is not only a device to conserve the land and water resources and to make the best use of them, but also to carry out an integrated physical and socio- economic development planning exercise within an ecological frame work


S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Factors that Influence Participation within the Watershed Context
Location of land in the watershed

Degree of dependence on natural resource base for livelihood or subsistence needs

Caste,Ethnic,Tribal Affiliation

Size of landholding and land ownership
Landowners and landless, small and big farmers, labourers and artisans

Extent of land degradation

Political affiliation
Access to agricultural inputs and non-farm resources for development


Objectives of watershed planning Objectives can be any one or more of the following. 1. Conservation of moisture in rain fed area for optimal utilization. 2. To check soil erosion. 3. To control problem of drainage, salinity and alkalinity. 4. To control flood 5. To check siltation prevention in reservoirs. 6. Collections of surplus run off in farm ponds and its recycling for crop use. 7. To recharge grounds water or increase water table in wells. 8. Collections of surplus run off for meeting the drinking water requirement of cattle, and human population in desert areas. 9. To improve the main and on- farm irrigation systems for increased productivity and increased area under irrigation. Mechanism for peoples participation; Human and cattle population directly and indirectly affected by what happens in the watershed. They depend for their basic necessities on watershed. Drought lead to acute water scarcity—water and fodder has to be transported—flood cause damage –cattle and crop loses can damage the economy. Contour bunding cut across farmer’s field—so they object—field bunding is welcomed. Watershed management societies Livestock management societies Water conservation—Vegetative, mechanical. Objectives of the Command area development program Utilization of ground water resources. Land shaping of watershed areas for integrated crop planning Development of field channel and field drainage system within the farmers block to prevent water logging and to utilize water resources more efficiently.

S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Constraints to Participation in Watershed Management Projects
Constraints to Participation in Watershed Management Projects In the Indian context, many factors influence an individual's ability to participate in the planning and implementing process of a watershed management project. These factors may relate to the individual's access to and dependence on the natural resource base, or, they may be related to the individual's bargaining power in the community. Degree of dependence on the natural resource base The degree of dependence on the natural resource base for livelihood or subsistence needs is determined by land ownership and size of the landholding, e.g., poor landless households have a high degree of dependence on common land. Land-owning households can obtain fuel wood and fodder from their own land, but if their landowning is small, then there will be some degree of dependence on common lands. Better-off households might switch to kerosene or gas. Similarly, some livelihoods like leaf plate making are completely dependent on the natural resource base. Gender As a group, women are landless and have less control over resources than men. However, the degree of dependence on the natural resource base is also determined by whether or not they belong to land owning families. It has been observed that women from “higher caste” or “betteroff families” are less interested in the management of common lands. Women also generally have lower bargaining power in the community. Caste, ethnic/tribal affiliation Traditional, caste-based occupations still exist and many of them (e.g., those of craftsmen and artisans) depend on the natural resource base. In some villages it is found that certain castes are landowners and others are landless. Caste also influences bargaining power in the community, with lower-caste people frequently having little say in issues affecting the whole community. Tribal populations are also more dependent upon the natural resource base and often have less control over these resources. Political affiliation Affiliation to the dominant political party in the region facilitates access to natural resources and to bargaining power in the community. Location of land in the watershed This is important, since lands in the valleys often receive the most benefit from treatment in the watershed. Also, greater investments are required for treating lands on the upper slopes and the farmers may not be able to afford them. Fertile lowlands are generally owned richer farmers while it is the poorer farmers own the uplands. Size of landholding and land ownership The size of landholding determines the economic status and bargaining power of the farmer as well as the extent of his/her dependence on the common lands for fulfilling subsistence needs. Extent of land degradation This affects the productivity and also the investments required for rehabilitating the land. Access to agricultural inputs and non-farm resources for development Large farmers have greater access to agricultural inputs than small farmers. Women farmers rarely have access to resources and extension services. These factors determine an individual’s capacity to contribute to the planning and implementation of watershed project activities. Decisions taken for project implementation, in turn, have an impact on the livelihood of the individual


S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

Determining and enforcing appropriate cropping pattern for the various blocks according to the availability of water. Preparing an input (fertilizer, credit) plan Conceiving and implementation of land leveling, soil conservation and aforestation action plans Problems in command area projects: Legal; On farm development requires legislation on re-alignment of farm boundaries, land leveling and land shaping. Implementation of appropriate cropping pattern requires legislative support. Uniform legislation regarding irrigation control and regulation of groundwater is required to be enacted. Technical; Salinity problem and its control Seepage from canals Problems of water distribution at the tail end of the canal Consolidation and re-alignment of field boundaries. Administrative; Inadequacy, misutilization and non-utilization of funds; cost escalation, lack of investigation, delay in decision making. Land acquisition problems Non-realization of anticipated crop pattern –inadequate field channels, land preparation, neglect of maintenance, mal-distribution of water supply, lack of departmental coordination. Personal; Lack of personal planning ,recruitment and deployment Lack of appropriate training policy and extension system


S.Rengasamy- Madurai Institute of Social Sciences – Watershed Planning & Development

What is Watershed? A watershed can be defined as the drainage basin or catchment area of a particular stream or river. Simply put, it refers to the area from where the water flows to a particular drainage system, like a river or stream, comes from. Why Watershed Development? People and their environment are interdependent. Any change in the surrounding environment directly affects the people living therein. A degraded environment results in a degraded quality of life of the people. Thus efforts to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living of the people must aim at improving the environment they live in. The environment does not recognize people determined administrative boundaries. A watershed provides a natural environmental unit for planning a developmental initiative. What is Watershed Development? Watershed development refers to the conservation, regeneration and the judicious use of all the resources - natural (land, water, plants, animals) and human - within a particular watershed. Watershed management tries to bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural resources on the one side, and human and other living beings on the other. Components of Watershed Development • Human Resource Development (Community Development) • Soil and Land Management • Water Management • Crop Management • Afforestation • Pasture/Fodder Development • Livestock Management • Rural Energy Management • Farm and non-farm value addition activities All these components are interdependent and interactive. Why People's Participation? The environment is a living space on which the human community living within that area depends on for its livelihood. When the economic condition of a community deteriorates it leads to over-exploitation and degradation of natural resources which, in turn, further exacerbates poverty. It is thus necessary for people to see the relationship between their poverty and the degraded environment they live in. Thus, just as human beings and their activities are the cause of environmental destruction, it is only they who can restore to health the ruined environment. Hence there can be no sustainable natural resources management unless it involves the participation of all the inhabitants of the concerned environment / area in an active manner.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful