Focused conservation of natural resources took priority with the introduction of the watershed approach to the management of land and water resources. Here in 1980 the storing of rainwater in percolation tanks, check dams and gully plugs represented a conscious effort to recharge groundwater or restore it to its potential. Soil conservation and rainfed farming methods, community and farm forestry and conjunctive use of groundwater too were demonstrated. One of the pioneers of this approach, the integrated development of land and water came took the shape of the “watershed” with Devpimpalgoan, a village in a drought prone region of Maharashtra declared a “Watershed Model” by the Government of Maharashtra. Supporting the design of this innovative approach was the Swiss Technical Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland. Since then major supporters of this approach have been Ministry of Rural Development, NABARD, ITC, GiZ etc.
Evolution of the Watershed Approach
Inherent land use capabilities are compromised due to human practices such as intensive utilization of land, absence of land management practices and shifting cultivation. They aggravate natural forces of degradation, manifest in the development of rills and gullies and degraded pastures, and affect productivity.
Introduced in the 1970’s and based on the management of hydrological units of land, the watershed approach offers solutions aimed at restricting this degradation; and contributing to resource conservation and restoration. Here, the focused development of land and water resources defines the support extended.
Capacity building of multiple stakeholders including technical staff from key line departments too is supported. The key themes addressed are Institution Building, Social Mobilization, Livelihood Promotion, Project and Finance Management and Agriculture Engineering and Agriculture Management.
Linking of Climate Proofing or Climate Change Adaptation with the conventional watershed approach is an innovative methodology shielding climate vulnerable sectors and livelihoods dependant on it; and demonstrated in our programmes.
Adapting to Changing Climates
A change in natural climate variability, including extreme events – manifestations of climate change – is increasing vulnerabilities across sectors. By adapting to such changes, the risk faced by poor and marginalized communities can be reduced. Adoption of climate change as a cross cutting issue has been one of the organization’s more recent accomplishments.
We have been contributing to fundamental aspects of climate change – assessments of vulnerabilities – through scientific studies on contributing factors. Collaborating with leading national & international research institutes have formed a part of favored strategies.
We have also been closely working with adaptation options, serving as effective bridges between scientific research and grass roots communities. Innovative approaches are being piloted across arid and semi arid regions. However, forays into flood prone areas too have been made.
Synchronizing capacities of multiple stakeholders is also an arena into which we have recently entered. Capacity building of grassroots level communities on climate change and adaption is an extended service which we are providing.
Watershed Management Programmes
Acknowledging that groundwater development needs to be supported simultaneously by water conservation measures and that rapid expansion of groundwater would compromise resource sustainability, a unique project was formulated in the late 1970’s with the support from the Swiss Technical Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland. Popularly known as the ‘Integrated Land and … Continue reading →
Common Lands, conventionally classified as wastelands, are historically neglected classes of land due to their limited capabilities to generate revenue. In the recent past encroachments and unscientific development of these lands has led to government regulation and regularization of encroachments. While, the economic contribution of these lands is limited, there … Continue reading →
Strengthening livelihoods through conservation and restoration of natural resource bases – Surnarwadi Watershed
As per the National Rainfed Authority of India (NRAA), rainfed areas account for 55% of the total geographical area. In the state of Maharashtra, these regions occupy greater predominance with over 80% of the geographical area categorized as rainfed. The XII Five Year Plan of the Planning Commission emphasizes the … Continue reading →
Watershed Programmes have evolved in India, since its inception in the 1970’s. The evolution is in terms of the scope of the programme and approaches adopted in designing, planning and implementation. A recent addition to Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) is the component of Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Documentation (MELD). … Continue reading →
Livelihood Security for 600 million farmers is recognized as a National Goal. While, there are numerous approaches, the approach which is relied upon heavily, especially, in rainfed areas is that of the Watershed. Watershed Plus is a value addition to conventional watershed programmes with a focus on development of livelihoods. … Continue reading →
Vulnerability Assessments and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Semi – Arid Regions of India
In India 53.4% of the geographical area comprises of arid and semi arid regions. These regions receive limited rainfall and agriculture based livelihoods are limited to productive lands. Ensuring livelihood security in these areas is critical to developing them, while ensuring that dependant natural resources are used judiciously. With scientific … Continue reading →
The Rajasthan State Action Plan on Climate Change (RSAPCC) mentions a significant warming and a change in natural climate variability, especially in rainfall. While, there is a general decrease in rainfall, pockets of increased variability also exist. Coupled with limited and/or over exploited water resources and a dependence on climate … Continue reading →
Contributing to building Resilience to Climate Change and Assessment of Vulnerability to Climate Change in a Semi Arid region – Water and Climate Resilience Program (WACREP)
Climate Change manifests itself through a change in the nature of extreme weather events experienced by a region. With Action Plans on Climate Change prepared at global, national and state levels, local level variations in key climatic variables create the need to conduct climate change vulnerability assessments at smaller assessment … Continue reading →
Nearly 300 million people inhabiting the dryland regions of India are dependant on agriculture for livelihoods. Many of the poor and resource dependent communities in these fragile and sensitive dryland ecosystems are exposed to climatic extreme events. Maharashtra too is known to be prone to the occurrence of extreme weather … Continue reading →
Pasturelands are an important component of livelihood systems in semi arid regions of Rajasthan. Livestock based livelihoods meet subsistence requirements and contribute to income generation. However, human drivers such as land degradation, population pressure and deterioration of traditional management systems have increased the vulnerability this system. Partnering with Deutsche Gesellschaft … Continue reading →