Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watershed Development Programme for the Rural Poor

Watershed is an independent Hydrological unit. It can be defined as the drainage basin or catchment area of a particular stream or river. It refers to the area from where the water come to a particular drain, like a river or stream. A Watershed may be small, consisting of a few hectares or huge, covering several thousands of hectares.

Watershed refers to the conservation, regeneration and the judicious use of human and natural (land, water, plants, animals) resources within a particular watershed. Watershed development attempts to bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural resources on one side and man and gazing animals on the other. It requires people’s participation because conservation is possible only through the whole hearted involvement of the entire community.

Components/sectors of Watershed Development:
  • Human resource development (Community development)
  • Soil and land management (Conservation and use)
  • Water management (conservation and use)
  • Afforestation
  • Pasture (fodder) development
  • Agricultural development
  • Livestock management
  • Rural energy management
Why Watershed Development:
Activities of man like deforestation, wrong framing techniques, livestock over-grazing and faulty land use lead to the destruction of plant and tree cover exposing the earth to the natural forces like heavy rains, direct sunshine and high velocity winds. It give raise to soil erosion, floods or water scarcity. Agricultural yield is lowered and this results in decline in the income levels of the community resulting poverty and eventually leading to migration of labour from rural to urban areas in search of livelihood.

Watershed development therefore not only to generate environment but also manage the needs of human community. Human beings and their activities are the root cause of environmental destruction and the preservation of environment is only the responsibility of all inhabitants.


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