What is Watershed Management ?

This watershed constantly undergoes the action and reaction of many hydrologic and hydraulic components or phenomena. For a systematic sustainable development of the watershed, its proper management is important, taking into consideration those components. Various hydrologic components of watershed such as precipitation, infiltration, evaporation, evapotranspiration, runoff and groundwater and hydraulic components such as flood, its mitigation and control, flood disaster management, river bank erosion, river training against erosion and meandering, drainage basin management on sedimentation in river and reservoir, soil erosion, Landslide, control of river and reservoir sediment deposition, environmental policies and practices for protecting ecological and environmental systems, water management, water harvesting structures, maintenance of man-made structures such as embankment, retaining wall, dam, weir, barrage, reservoir, spillways for irrigation, water supply, irrigation, hydropower, fish and wildlife, navigation, recreation, soil conservation, role of vegetation, ecosystem, forestry, agriculture, water application to crop and plant, grassland and wasteland, soil salinity, wasteland management, preparation of land drainage schemes, types and designs of surface drainage, as well as subsurface drainage in coastal and interior basins, estimation of design storm and design flood for spillways and other outlet structures, flood routing through river channels and reservoirs, flood control through single purpose and multipurpose reservoir operation, flood forecasting and protection systems and any other works come under the purview of watershed management. All the above management strategies are related to watershed and its surface and subsurface water, and therefore, they are all termed watershed management.

Following are the objectives of watershed management :

1)Reclamation of Wasteland :

Wasteland identified should be reclaimed by remedial measures.

2) Maintenance of water table :

Water table in the watershed should be maintained at a required level. If the level is high, proper drainage or pumping is to be adopted. If it is less, groundwater recharge is required.

3) Restoration of desert area :  

Dry and desert area can be developed to beautiful cropland.

4) Optimum utilization of natural resources :

It allows the optimum utilization of natural resources such as water, land, vegetation, etc. 

5) Water harvesting :

Owing to erratic and spatial variations of rainfall, water harvesting is essential. Collection of rainfall water and it’s economical and optimum use during the period of no rainfall grossly helps in the successful completion of development projects. 

6) Employment facility :

It facilitates employment resource generation of the community. 

7) Generation of manpower :

Community should be involved in various development activities in the watershed, thus generating manpower. 

8) Social stability and adoptability :

This approach promotes social stability and adaptability to ecological and environmental change.

9) Efficient and equal distribution : 

It provides an efficient and equal distribution of water resources.

10) Community’s living standard :

Watershed management improves the living standard, food security, poverty alleviation, hygiene, etc. of the community.

11) Unity, integrity and harmony :

Unity, integrity and harmony among the villagers are strengthened. 

12) Yield of crop :

Yield of crop among the farmers is increased due to the use of irrigation.

13) Water use control and conservation :

The community should make optimum use of water for irrigation while raising different crops. Proper irrigation methods should be used and requirements of water as per the kind of crops and types of soil should be taken into account.

14) Soil erosion control :

Run-off while flowing down the slope erodes top layer of the soil and thus soil nutrients are lost. Eroded soil flows along with run-off and gets deposited at the river and reservoir bed. Different measures of erosion control should be taken by the community.

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