Watershed provides a natural unit for ecological conservation and resource management as it governs the drainage of water and provides maximum scope for nature-friendly intervention.
AFPPRO has been one of the pioneers of the approach of watershed management with dedicated teams of civil, mechanical and agricultural engineers, geologists and hydro-geologists contributing to the execution of the approach across the country.
With the initiation of watershed management as an approach to the conservation of soil and water in Devpimpalgaon, Maharashtra in 1986 storing of rainwater through a series of check dams, gully plugging and contour tilling for soil conservation, improvement in rain fed farming methods, introduction of community and farm forestry and conjunctive use of groundwater were successfully demonstrated in Maharashtra as early as 1980’S. A corollary to AFPRO’s success in watershed management in late 1980’S was the declaration of Devpimpalgoan as a “Watershed Model” by the Government of Maharashtra.
AFPRO experience in watershed management can be highlighted through its collaborations with multiple funding agencies such Swiss Development Corporation, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), USAID and World Vision India operating across the geographical spread of the country.
Under the purview of Integrated Watershed Development Porgrammes, we have contributed not only to the enhancement of land and water resources within watersheds, but also enhancement of livelihoods. Although Watershed Plus is a new addition to IWMP’s watershed approach; we have encouraging responses in watersheds where livelihood action plans have been developed.
Within the peripheries of land and water management, AFPRO has developed competencies and strategies for Community Based Management of natural resources and management of Common Pool Resources (CPR). These strategies cover the purviews of creation and strengthening of institutional set ups like Water User Associations, and Village Watershed Committees etc. AFPRO has project experience in management of Common Pool Resources comprising of pastureland, wastelands, and fisheries. An additional technology promoted for the conservation of land resources especially in hilly areas is the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT). AFPRO has developed an experience in propagating this simple low cost method of contour farming using techniques that can be adopted by communities having limited tools, capitals and infrastructural support.
A unique modification to the classic watershed approach is our linking it to the looming threat of climate change through the ‘Climate Proofing’ methodology. Differential vulnerabilities observed between regions can strongly be attributed amongst others to differential adaptive capacities. Therefore shielding as many sectors as possible from these impacts can contribute to the development of more resilient communities. This opens the possibility of reinventing a model which has found considerable success in management of natural resources.
We have also contributed to the capacitation of staffs within concerned governments need to to implement any watershed related activities. Through our association with State Institute of Rural Development, Pune we have trained over 800 staff to take the states Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) to the ground. Through our training modules we have strived to communicate the basics – technical and financial – to a range of government stakeholders who will be directly associated in implementing projects within their domain.