Watershed Management

Watershed is a geographical unit with a common natural drainage outlet. The extent varies from 500 (micro-watershed) to 5000 ha (sub-watershed). For management purposes. 5000 ha is considered as a unit of intervention. Over the years the concept of watershed development has expanded from simple soil and water conservation to holistic natural resources development approach. Thus there is a paradigm shift from territory approach to a systemic approach of development.

Rain-fed agriculture accounts for 68% of India's cropped area providing livelihoods to 480 million people. With huge tract of land in the country falling under arid and semi-arid climatic region, Watershed Management is the only viable option to harness production requirement in the agricultural sector especially in the rain fed unirrigated areas of the Country.

The Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development is implementing the Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWMP) from 2009-10 with an objective to cover 55 million hectare of rain fed land by 2027. The program is being implemented in all the states of the country. The programme is financed by central and state government in the ratio of 90:10. The IWMP is the second largest watershed programme in the world after China. The programme envisages restoring the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such a soil, vegetative cover & water through watershed management initiatives. The outcomes of IWMP are prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.

This Group seeks innovative inputs from the citizens on various issues of Watershed Management.