Sustainable Management of Rainwater through Integrated Watershed Approach for Improved Rural Livelihoods

Wani, S P and Ramakrishna, Y S (2005) Sustainable Management of Rainwater through Integrated Watershed Approach for Improved Rural Livelihoods. In: Watershed Management Challenges: Improving Productivity, Resources and Livelihoods. International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka, pp. 39-60. ISBN 92-9090-611 1

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Rainwater, an essential resource for growing food also plays an important role in providing livelihood support for rural people in the rain-fed regions. Eighty percent of the world’s agricultural land is rain-fed and contributes to about 60 percent of the global food production. An insight into the rain-fed regions shows a grim picture of water-scarcity, fragile ecosystems and land degradation due to soil erosion by wind and water, low rainwater use efficiency, high population pressure, poverty, low investments in water use efficiency measures, poor infrastructure and inappropriate policies. The current rainwater use efficiency for crop production is low ranging between 30 and 45 %; thus annually about 300-800 mm of seasonal rainfall goes unproductive, lost either as surface run-off or deep drainage. The challenge, therefore, is to improve rural livelihoods through efficient and sustainable rainwater management technologies for increasing rain-fed productivity and thereby contribute to food and livelihood security. Watershed as an entry point acts as a beginning to address the issues of sustainable rainwater management for improving livelihoods. An innovative integrated farmer participatory consortium watershed management model developed by ICRISAT along with NARS partners is a holistic model unlike the earlier watershed approaches which were sectoral with emphasis only on the soil and water conservation measures. The integrated watershed approach uses new science tools, links onstation research to on-farm watersheds, provides technical backstopping through consortium of institutions with convergence of livelihood-based activities. The core theme of the model is sustainable natural resource management for increasing the farm productivity and improving the rural livelihoods. The approach covers issues starting with conservation of natural resources and ensures increased productivity and incomes through convergence of all necessary activities to achieve the good. In order to ensure equity for women and landless people, emphasis is put on development of common property resources as well as establishing micro-enterprises. This integrated watershed approach enables to have ‘winwin’ situations for sustaining productivity and improving livelihoods as it includes convergence of activities at various levels thus enhancing community participation and creating income-generating options. Successful results from on-farm integrated watersheds are discussed. However, the challenge is to scale up the approach to larger areas on sustainable basis. Lessons learnt from past watershed experiences are that we need to focus on issues such as keeping the community interest for participation; institutions to continue activity for maintenance after the project activity ceases; maintaining the link between the watershed and supporting institutions for technical backstopping, appropriate policies for groundwater use and common property resources and innovative ways to merge common wastelands. Thus the lessons learnt from the integrated watershed management can help reengineer suitable roadmaps for maximizing returns to investment on watershed programs. With ever changing policies and economies, improved institutional and policy support mechanisms in partnership with stakeholders especially the farmers, market links for products, value addition products for rural areas, infrastructure and suitable ways to meet the challenges for the target areas need to be addressed

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Others > Watershed Management
Depositing User: Ms K Syamalamba
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2012 05:30
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2012 05:30
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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