A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or
drains off of it goes into the same place. Watershed is “that area of land, a
bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably
linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple
logic demanded that they become part of a community."
The word watershed refers to a “contiguous area draining into a single
water body or a water course” or “it is a topographical area having a
common drainage”. This means that the rainwater falling on an area coming
within a ridgeline can be harvested and will flow out of this area thorough
single point. Some refer it as a catchment area or river basin.
A watershed is like a bathtub. The watershed outlet - the mouth of a pond,
lake or river- is the tub's drain. The watershed boundary is the tub's rim. The
watershed's drainage system consists of a network of rivers, streams,
constructed channels, stormdrains, wetlands, and the underlying
What is Watershed Development?
Simply, we can say it is the development of watershed area based on type of
soil, depth of soil, vegetative cover, harvestable rain water in that area and
watering that area and water budgeting and treatment given to soils from the
ridge to the valley. It is not a simple word. The term watershed development
encompasses additional dimensions like equity, sustainability, gender and
peoples participation. It has become a trusted tool for the overall
development of the village and people living within a watershed area.
Watershed development refers to the conservation regeneration and the
judicious use of all the resources – natural (like land, water plants, animals)
and human – within the watershed area. Watershed Management tries to
bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural
resources on the one side and man and animals on the other. Since it is the
man which is primarily responsible for degradation of environment,
regeneration and conservation can only be possible by promoting awakening
and participation among the people who inhabit the watersheds
Opinions of Watershed Experts
In the words of eminent economist, C.H.Hanumantha Rao “Watershed
development has been conceived basically as a strategy for protecting the
livelihoods of the people inhabiting the fragile ecosystems experiencing soil
erosion and moisture stress”.
Watershed Development Programme aims at creating a scenario where the
Government acts as a facilitator and the people at the grass root level
become the real executioner of the programme
History of watershed in Karnataka
Watershed in Karnataka before Independence
During 1923 the Royal Commission on Agriculture suggested the setting-up
of research stations in Bijapur, Hagari and Raichur. Based on this, dry
farming stations were established in Raichur, Hagri and Bijapur in
Contour bunding to check run off.
Deep ploughing once in 3 years for percolation of water
Use of farm yard manure.
Interculturing of crop for limited moisture use.
Karnataka under the dry land farming following system were introduced:
Watershed in Karnataka after Independence
After Independence, Karnataka continued with the traditional techniques of
soil conservation and water retention treatments with a host of programmes
being implemented by the Agriculture Department. In 1983 a World Bank
assisted comprehensive watershed project was taken in Kabbalnala.
In order to capitalize on the gains of the Kabbalanala Project in 1984,
Government of Karnataka created four Dry Land Development Boards under
four revenue Divisional Commissioners with a jurisdiction over 19 districts.
Each district had a multidisciplinary team comprising of line departments.
The main objectives were:
1) Conserve basic resourses such as soil, rain water, and vegetation.
2) Achieve higher biomass production both in arable and non-arable areas
3) Impart stability to crop yields through proper rainwater management,
crop patterns and land use.
4) Enhance the income of individuals through adoption of alternative
5) To restore and sustain ecological balance.
The success of these watersheds encouraged GOI to follow the strategy of
watersheds in principle and launched a massive NWDP in 7th five year plan
extended to 693 watersheds located in 99 districts of the country with a total
outlay of Rs. 239 crores in 15 states, including Karnataka.
This project was re named has NWDPRA during 8th five year plan and was
operated in 85 watersheds in Karnataka ranging from 5000 to 10000
7. Two Decades of Watershed in Karnataka
The various partners for these projects included Ministry of Agriculture,
Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, World Bank, Danida
(Royal Danish Govt. assistance), DFID (British Govt. assistance), German
Development Bank (KFW) and SDC (Swiss Govt. assistance). State Plan
funds were also used for the over all development of watersheds.
Why the concept of watershed?
• Soil, water and vegetation are so interdependent that one can not
be managed efficiently with out the other two.
• But water can be conveniently and efficiently managed only if the
hydrological unit vis-à-vis watershed is taken as a whole.
• Since these three are interdependent resources, watershed is
considered to be the ideal unit.
• Deforestation, soil degradation, sedimentation and the resultant
floods, droughts, and poverty often require different kinds of
solutions but are connected by the fact that they can best be
understood and managed as physical units defined by the flow of
water, that is watershed.
• Man and his environment are interdependent. The changes in the
environment directly affect the lives of the people depending on it
• A degraded environment means a degraded quality of life of the
• Environmental degradation can be tackled effectively through the
holistic development of the watershed.
• A watershed provides a natural geo-hydrological unit for
planning any developmental initiative.
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
To mitigate the adverse effects of drought on crops and livestock.
To control desertification.
To encourage restoration of ecological balance and
To promote economic development of village community.
BENEFITS DERIVED FROM WATERSHED METHODOLOGY
The crop yield has increased by in dry land farming
The soil loss due to erosion was brought down
Large extents of barren hill slopes were covered by vegetation.
Large tracts of marginal lands brought under dry land Horticulture
Development of Agro-Horti and Agro-Forestry systems.
Water resources were harvested through nala bunds, farm ponds, gully embankments
Regeneration of grass lands for more fodder and grass.
The income of farmers increased considerably.
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT SCHEMES
Centrally Sponsored Scheme
1. National Watershed development programme in Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA)
2. River Valley Project (RVP)
State Sector Scheme
2. NABARD RIDE
3. Suvarna Krishi Honda
Externally Aided Projects
1. World Bank Assisted Watershed Development Project
2. British Government Assisted (DFID) KAWAD Programme (Project
3. Swiss Government Assisted (ISPWDK) Project (Project Completed)
District Sector Watershed Development Scheme:-
1. Drought Prone Area Programme
2. Desert Development Programme
3. Western Ghats Development Programme
4. Integrated Wasteland Development Programme
5. Watershed Development Training Centres
National Watershed development programme in
Rainfed Areas (N.W.D.P.R.A.)
National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas is in operation since
1991-92. So far, 9,09,996 Ha. have been treated at an expenditure of Rs.
198.899 Crores. During 2001-2002 it is programmed to develop an area of 45280
Ha. in 141 taluks/watersheds in 26 districts with an outlay of Rupees 2100 lakhs.
The broad objectives of the Watershed Programmes are:
Conservation, development and sustainable management of natural resources including their
Enhancement of agricultural productivity and production in a sustainable manner.
Restoration o ecological balance in the degraded and fragile rainfed eco-systems by greening
these areas through appropriate mix of trees, shrubs and grasses.
Reduction in regional disparity between irrigated and rinfed areas.
Creation of sustained employment opportunities for the rural community including the landess.
Criteria for Selection of Watershed
Blocks having less than 30 percent assured means of irrigation in the arable land
Severity of land degradation
Lack of earlier investments in watershed development projects
Significant proportion of arable land under private cultivation
Pre-ponderance of resource poor, SC/ST persons
Willingness of community to participate and contribute in the programme and take up
responsibility of post project maintenance of the assetsD. Monitoring Mechanism
State level Watershed Development Implementation Committe
Headed by Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commisisoner.
Members are Principal Secretary, Agriculture & Horticulture, Secretary
(Horticulture), Director, Watershed Development Department, Commissioner for
Agriculture, Chief Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry), Director, Animal
Husbandry and Veterinary Services, Director, Horticulture Deartment, Chief
Scientist, Dry Land Development, UAS, GKVK and Directors of Extension, UAS,
Bangalore and Dharwad.
District level Co-ordination Committee
Headed by Chief Executive Officer of respective Zilla Panchayat. Members are
District Watershed Development Officer, Horticulture Officer, Forest Officer,
Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry, Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Society
and District Joint Director of Agriculture.
Taluka Level Co-ordination Committee - Headed by Chairman of the Taluka
Panchayat. Members are Z.P. Member of Watershed area, Chairman of the
Grama Panchayat of the Watershed area, Executive Officer of the Taluka
Panchayat and taluka level Officers of various concerned Departments.
Watershed level - Watershed Committee (Mitra Krishika Mandal/ Watersheds
Sanghas, Watershed Societies) - Headed by a President, selected by the local
people from among themselves. Members are local NGOs, voluntary agencies,
local officers of the development department, group of local people and members
of self-help groups / user groups.E.
Treatment Approach- Landless, Marginal and Small Farmers Provision has
been made to support the above category population living in the watershed area
by providing them with incentives under household production activities or loan
from the revolving fund.
Livestock Management - Provision has been made for reducing the scrub bull
population, upgrading the livestock with improve breeds, and development of
pasture. Activities like animal health care are also included.
Production Activities - Provision of crop demonstration in arable land, agro-
forestry and horticulture development in arable as well as non arable land has
been made. Other activities like kitchen / homestead gardening are also
Soil & Water Conservation activities - Treatment of watersheds is done on a
ridge to valley approach. Different soil and water conservation measures
integrated with afforestation and horticulture are proposed based on the land
capability, slope etc. Vegetative measures of conservation have been given due
importance while treating the land. The normal pattern of watershed treatment is
as follows -
Arable land - Measures like contour vegetative hedges / contour bunding / gully
control measures / land smoothening and other inter bund management and
contour cultivation / cultivation across the slope.
Non-arable land - Measures like contour trenches / diversion drains / gully
control measures supported by vegetative measures.
Upper Reaches - Treatment like live checks, brushwood checks, loose boulder
checks and small dugout ponds are taken up supported by afforestation.
Middle Reaches - Earthen structures with vegetative support, loose boulder
structures with vegetative support and run-off management dugout ponds are
proposed. Further, agri-horticulture systems are advocated.
Lower Reaches - Dugout sunken ponds, nal bunds, check dams for run-off
management are proposed. Using the stored water, horticulture, afforestation
and fodder development activities are taken up.
River Valley Project (RVP)
Development and Conservation of Land Resources are very vital for Agricultural
Economy. The surface of the earth is being eroded continuously by mankind by
one way or the other resulting in ecological imbalance on one hand and Natural
calamities such as flood and fury of rivers wash away the wealth of surface soil
on the other hand. The result of these devastation’s in the catchment area cause
degradation of lands and premature siltation of reservoirs. In order to preserve
the wealth of surface land, natural resources like soil and water the River Valley
Project Scheme was initiated in Karnataka during the IIIrd five year plan in the
catchments of Tungabhadra, Nijamsagar and Nagarjunasagar.This scheme is in
operation in Tunghabhadra, Nizamsagar and Nagarjunasagar Catchments. The
scheme was started during 1963-64 with the main objective of preventing and
checking premature siltation of reservoirs and to increase production and
productivity of the catchment area. Since inception of the project an area of 5.85
lakh Ha. has been developed with an expenditure of 102.269 Crores. During
2001-2002 it is programmed to develop an area of 37856 Ha. with a total outlay
of Rs. 1500.00 lakhs. At present Centrally Sponsored Scheme is implemented as
State Sector Scheme in the state under Macro Management mode. Earlier
sharing pattern was 50:50 i.e. Govt.of India grant and long term loan to the state
Prevention of land degradation by adoption of multidisciplinary integrated approach of soil
conservation and watershed management in the catchment areas.
Improvement of land capability and moisture regime in the Watersheds.
Promotion of land use to match land capability.
Prevention of soil loss from the catchment and to reduce siltation of reservoirs
People`s involvement in the Management of catchment.
Upgradation of skills in planning and execution of land development programmes.
In Tungabhadra Catchment 3.232 lakh ha. of priority area has been treated since
inception of the RVP Scheme which accounts for 64.38 % of the total priority
area of 5.02 lakh ha. Identified as high and very high priority as on 31.3.2001,
further 138 watersheds have been saturated out of 154 watersheds. The details
are in Annexure-1.The districts of Bellary, Haveri, Chitradurga, Koppal and
Davanagere are included in Thungabhadra Catchment of River Valley Project. In
view of saturating the catchment area, the remaining 16 watersheds will be taken
up during the current year (2001-2002) to treat an area of 25467 Ha. and to
construct 3736 structures at an outlay of Rs.844.86 lakhs. The total project cost
including establishment training, corpus fund, Hydrological sediment monitoring
contingency etc., works out Rs. 1100 lakhs.
State Sector Scheme
State Government has earmarked Rs. 8.42 crores towards establishment cost of
the Staff of Watershed Development Department. Under this scheme salaries
and other allowances of the employees of Watershed Development Department
Completed watershed development programmes in Karnataka
(1984-85 to 1999-2000)
Sl. Name of the programme Implementing No. of No. of Total Area Amount
No. agency and year districts water- geographical treated spent since
sheds area (ha) since inception
1. World Bank assisted DLDB/Department 6 7 136337 136337 37.564
Watershed Projects of Watershed
2 District watershed DLDB/Department 18 18 578420 515200 121.978
development programmes of Watershed
3 Participative and integrated DLDB/MYRADA 1 1 20300 9680 4.140
development of watersheds (1985-86 to 1993-94
4 Swiss assisted ISPWD-K DLDB/WDD 5 5 74968 30000 12.595
Project (1995 to 2000)
5 KFW assisted Integrated DLDB/WDD 3 5 53627 24600 16.221
Watershed Management (1995 to2000)
6 River valley projects A&H Department 15 723 106.88 (Area to 541800 91.119
(Tungabhadra,Nizamsagar through Dept. of (225 W/s be treated 26.15
and Nagarjuna Sagar) Agri. (Centrally saturated) lakhs)
7 National Watershed A&H Dept. through 26 141 872872 872872 182.995
Development Programme for Dept. of Agri. In the
Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA) State Sector
coordinated by ZP
1986-87. As NWDP
1990-91 onwards as
8 i) Drought Prone Areas RD & PR Zilla i) 15 423 in 81 - - 75.600
Programme Panchayat and ii) 6 blocks 130 (1995-99)
ii) Desert Development Watershed iii) 11 in 22 20.220
Programme Development blocks 40 (1995-99)
iii) Western Ghat Associations taluks 53.540
9 Karnataka Watershed A&H Department 3 14 53000 23000 16.036
Development through Directorate 4 12 - - -
Project (DANIDA Assistance) of Agriculture I
1990-91 to 96-97
II phase 1997 to 04
Total 2153489 632.008
Projects in operation and administrative arrangement
Sl. Name of the Administrative Fund Implementing Mode of No. of Area Amount
No. programme control releasing department implementation Micro treated spent
department watershed (ha) (Rs.in
I. State Sector Schemes
a. National WDD WDD WDD WDC 568 102514 6353.17
b. River Valley WDD WDD WDD WDD 117 134305 4489.71
c. Reclamation WDD WDD WDD WDD 6 dist. 1701 249.00
II. District Sector Schemes
a. Drought RDPR & ZP RDPR & ZP WDD WDC 959 143391 9880.48
b. Desert RDPR & ZP RDPR & ZP WDD WDC 644 59125.5 5013.88
c. Integrated RDPR & ZP RDPR & ZP WDD WDC 258 81885 4421.89
d. Western RDPR & ZP RDPR & ZP WDD WDC 215 25394 3814.85
e. Special ZP ZP WDD WDD - 2755.3 142.36
III. Aided Projects
a. Sujala WDD WDD WDD Sujala Sangha 753 26115 3442.01
b. KAWAD KAWAD WDD KAWAD NGO, WDC, 108 34749 1818.13
Project Society Society Dept.
• Utilizing the land according to its capability
• Establishing adequate vegetative cover
• Conserving as much rain water as possible in situ Draining-out
surplus water and divert it to storage ponds
• Avoiding gully formation through suitable checks to minimize soil
erosion and enhance ground water recharge
• Maximize productivity per unit area, per unit time and per unit
• Increasing cropping intensity – Intercropping and Sequence
• Better utilization of marginal lands through ALUS
• Ensuring sustainability of the ecosystem
• Maximizing the combined income:
• Generating off-season employment
• Minimising the risks from aberrant weather
• Processing and value addition of the farm produce
• Developing and improving infra –structure: Storage, transport
• Promotion of balanced nutrition – Dryland fruits and vegetables
besides cereals, pulses and oilseeds
SPECIAL FOCUS AHEAD ON WATERSHED
Integrated Nutrient Management (INM)
Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM)
Farming Systems Approach (FSA)
Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA)
Alternate land use systems viz., agro-forestry, agri-horticulture,
silvi-pasture, horti-silvi-pasture, etc.
Animal Husbandry, Backyard Poultry and Apiculture
Restore or develop gomala/gokatte/gundu topu/devara kadu
Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK)
Post-harvest Processing and Value Addition-APCs
Agri-clinic and agri-business management
HRD-capacity building/leadership development/SHG formation/
MWMG formation/custom hiring services
BENEFITS OF AGRO-PROCESSING CENTRE IN
Enhance the quality of inputs
Reduce losses at various post harvest stages
Reduces cost of processing
Restriction of middlemen involvement
Opportunities for the farmer himself to become a grower-cum-
Improves the quality of rural life and affords dignity
Motivates educated rural youth to keep engage in processing
industry and thus preventing their migration to urban areas
Ensures fair prices to growers for their produce
Makes available diversified products to rural consumer at
reasonable and affordable prices
SUJALA WATERSHED PROJECT
Sujala is a Watershed Development Project designed by the
Government of Karnataka and implemented by the Watershed
Development Department of Government of Karnataka
The World Bank through International Development Association
provided major portion of plan outlay as a loan to Government of
India and in turn loan to Government of Karnataka.
The Government of Karnataka finances some portion of the
budget and the Watershed Communities contribute some portion.
Sujala a community driven watershed development project with a
total budget of Rs.557 crores,
As planned, the project period started from 10.09.2001 and likely
to end by 31.03.2009.
It is being implemented in seven districts, namely Kolar,
Chikkabalapur, Tumkur, Madhugiri, Chitradurga, Haveri and
Dharwad of Karnataka covering 4.29 lakhs hectare of land spread over
in 77 sub-watersheds and 1270 villages benefiting nearly 4.0 lakhs
households including landless.
To improve the productive potential of selected watersheds and
their associated natural resource base.
Strengthen community and institutional arrangements for natural
An associated objective is to strengthen the capacity of
communities in the project districts for participatory involvement
in planning, implementation, social and environmental
management and maintenance.
The implementing department operates in a more socially
inclusive manner, with in the frame work of a convergent
watershed development plan.
This will be achieved through having the community groups
implement the project, the project’s collaborative approach and
capacity building initiatives
Project Primary objectives
• Increasing House Hold Income
• Improving Agriculture Productivity.
• Improving Vegetative Cover.
• Increasing Milk and Horticulture Production.
• Increasing Fodder and Fuel availability.
• Reducing Soil Erosion & Runoff to Improve Water Availability.
• Enhancing Quality and Life of Village Communities.
• Ensuring Institutional support by Watershed Development
Department as facilitator and by NGOs for community
organization and strengthening.
Distinct Features of the Project
• Peoples participation as a focus of the entire project
• NGOs involvement at all levels
• Adopting Area Group approach
• Cost sharing by the community to enhance ownership & respect
towards peoples choices
• Use of agriculture & water resource action plans developed
through remote sensing to complement peoples plan
• Involvement of various resource agencies for provision of
• Monitoring & Evaluation is inbuilt within the project
implementation structure & process
• Effective accountability & transparency by adopting appropriate
financial management systems at all levels
• Adopting ESA (Environmental & Social impact assessment)
• Involvement of PRIs (Panchayat Raj Institution)
• Community development programmes
• A Forestation
• Dry land horticulture
• Construction of bunds
• Soil conservation
• Fodder production for animal husbandry
• Construction of Farm pond
• Development of animal husbandry
• Bore well recharge
• Construction of loose border checks
• Open well recharge
• Construction of NALA bunds
• Inter cropping
• Income generating activities for rural poor
Use of land, water and vegetation according to its
capability we can change in knowledge, skills,
attitudes for enhancing resource use efficiency
and improvement in socio-economic and
• Department of Agriculture
• Karnataka Watershed Development Department
• Principles of Agronomy- Shankar Reddy and Alamand