- Watershed development is the conservation, recharging and judicious use of the water resources like, underground water, rivers etc. and lands within the watershed area.
- The word “watershed” introduced in 1920 was used for the “water parting boundaries”. Watershed is that land area which drains or contributes runoff to a common outlet.
- Watershed is defined as a geo-hydrological unit draining to a common point by a system of drains. All lands on earth are part of one watershed or other. Watershed is thus the land and water area, which contributes runoff to a common point.
Benefits of watershed development in an area:
- It makes the land fertile and supports the growth of trees, plants and cultivation.
- Help in the preservation of water and its resources.
- Prevents soil erosion. Watershed Development
Types of Watershed Management:
Watershed is classified depending upon the size, drainage, shape and land use pattern.
- Macro watershed: 1000 -10,000 ha
- Micro watershed: 100 -1000 ha
- Mini watershed: 10 -100 ha
- Mille watershed: 1 -10 ha
Objectives of Watershed Management:
- Production of food, fodder, fuel.
- Pollution control
- Over exploitation of resources should be minimized
- Water storage, flood control, checking sedimentation.
- Wildlife preservation
- Erosion control and prevention of soil, degradation and conservation of soil and water.
- Employment generation through industrial development dairy fishery production.
- Recharging of groundwater to provide regular water supply for consumption and industry as well as irrigation. Watershed Development
Component of Watershed Management:
- Entry Point Activity (EPA):
- Entry Point Activity is the first formal project intervention which is undertaken after the transect walk, selection and finalization of the watershed. It is highly recommended to use knowledge-based entry point activity to build the rapport with the community.
- Direct cash-based EPA must be avoided as such activities give a wrong signal to the community at the beginning for various interventions. Details of the knowledge based EPA to build rapport with the community ensuring tangible economic benefits to the community members are described here.
- Land and Water Conservation Practices:
- Soil and water conservation practices are the primary step of watershed management program.
- Conservation practices can be divided into two main categories:
- In-situ management- Land and water conservation practices, those made within agricultural field like construction of contour bunds, graded bunds field bunds, terraces building broad bed and furrow practice and other soil-moisture conservation practices, are known as in-situ management. These practices protect land degradation, improve soil health, and increase soil-moisture availability and groundwater recharge.
- Ex-situ management- Construction of check dam, farm pond, gully control structures, pits excavation across the stream channel is known as ex-situ management. Ex-situ watershed management practices reduce peak discharge in order to reclaim gully formation and harvest substantial amount of run-off, which increases groundwater recharge and irrigation potential in watersheds.
- Integrated Pest and Nutrient Management:
- Water only cannot increase crop productivity to its potential level without other interventions. A balanced nutrient diet along with adequate moisture availability and pest and disease free environment can turn agricultural production several folds higher compared to unmanaged land.
- Integrated nutrient management (INM) involves the integral use of organic manure, crop straw, and other plant and tree biomass material along with little application of chemical fertilizer (both macro- and micro- nutrients).
- Integrated pest management (IPM) involves use of different crop pest control practices like cultural, biological and chemical methods in a combined and compatible way to suppress pest infestations. Thus, the main goals of INM and IPM are to maintain soil fertility, manage pest and the environment so as to balance costs, benefits, public health, and environmental quality.
- Crop Diversification and Intensification:
- The crop diversification refers to bringing about a desirable change in the existing cropping patterns towards a more balanced cropping system to reduce the risk of crop failure; and crop intensification is the increasing cropping intensity and production to meet the ever increasing demand for food in a given landscape.
- Watershed management puts emphasis on crop diversification and intensification through the use of advanced technologies, especially good variety of seeds, balanced fertilizer application and by providing supplemental irrigation.
- Use of Multiple Resources:
- Farmers those solely dependent on agriculture, hold high uncertainty and risk of failure due to various extreme events, pest and disease attack, and market shocks. Therefore, integration of agriculture (on-farm) and non-agriculture (off-farm) activities is required at various scales for generating consistent source of income and support for their livelihood.
- Capacity Building:
- Watershed development requires multiple interventions that jointly enhance the resource base and livelihoods of the rural people. This requires capacity building of all the stakeholders from farmer to policy makers.
- Capacity building is a process to strengthen the abilities of people to make effective and efficient use of resources in order to achieve their own goals on a sustained basis. Unawareness and ignorance of the stakeholders about the objectives, approaches, and activities are the reasons that affect the performance of the watersheds.
- Capacity building program focuses on construction of low cost soil and water conservation methods, production and use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, income generating activities, livestock based activities, waste land development, market linkage for primary stakeholders.
Criteria for Selection of Watershed:
The basic criteria for selection of watersheds are:
- Magnitude of the problem
- Future of addressing the problem
- Capacity/potentiality for overall development
- Availability of desired technology
- Acceptability and participation of the rural people
- Availability of infrastructural facilities
- Rainwater harvesting means collection and storage of rainwater by some mechanism to make water available for future use. An appreciable amount of precipitation, which is generally lost as surface flow, can be harvested and stored for useful purposes like drinking and providing supplemental irrigation to the crops.
- (Watershed Development )
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