Assessing impacts of agricultural water interventions in the Kothapally watershed, Southern India

Garg, K K and Karlberg, L and Barron, J and Wani, S P and Rockstroma, J (2011) Assessing impacts of agricultural water interventions in the Kothapally watershed, Southern India. Hydrological Processes. 18pp. ISSN 0885-6087

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The paper describes a hydrological model for agricultural water intervention in a community watershed at Kothapally in India, developed through integrated management and a consortium approach. The impacts of various soil and water management interventions in the watershed are compared to no-intervention during a 30-year simulation period by application of the calibrated and validated ARCSWAT 2005 (Version 2.1.4a) modelling tool. Kothapally receives, on average, 800 mm rainfall in the monsoon period. 72% of total rainfall is converted as evaporation and transpiration (ET), 20% is stored by groundwater aquifer, and 8% exported as outflow from the watershed boundary in current water interventions. ET, groundwater recharge and outflow under no-intervention conditions are found to be 64, 9, and 19%, respectively. Check dams helped in storing water for groundwater recharge, which can be used for irrigation, as well minimising soil loss. In situ water management practices improved the infiltration capacity and water holding capacity of the soil, which resulted in increased water availability by 10–30% and better crop yields compared to no-intervention. Water outflows from the developed watershed were more than halved compared to no-intervention, indicating potentially large negative downstream impacts if these systems were to be implemented on a larger scale. On the other hand, in the watershed development program, sediment loads to the streams were less than one-tenth. It can be concluded that the hydrological impacts of large-scale implementation of agricultural water interventions are significant. They result in improved rain-fed agriculture and improved productivity and livelihood of farmers in upland areas while also addressing the issues of poverty, equity, and gender in watersheds. There is a need for case-specific studies of such hydrological impacts along with other impacts in terms of equity, gender, sustainability, and development at the mesoscale.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrological modelling; SWAT; resilience; watershed management; semi arid tropics; rain-fed farming; hydrological impacts; water balance
Subjects: Others > Watershed Management
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2011 05:55
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2011 04:05
Official URL:
Funders: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Asian Development Bank, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Government of India
Acknowledgement: This research was supported by a research grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) during year 2009. The authors would like to thank the team of Research Program1-Resilient DryLand Systems, ICRISAT, for collecting and providing historical research data and their support. The authors are grateful to Dr P. Pathak, Scientist, ICRISAT for providing water and sediment flow data of Kothapally watershed, and to Irrigation and Command Area Development, Hyderabad for providing Osman Sagar inflow data on monthly time scale. The authors are grateful to consortium partners, Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture (CRIDA); National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC); District Water Management Agency (DWMA), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Watershed Committee for implementing watershed development program in Kothapally watershed. The authors are also grateful to funding agencies, Asian Development Bank, Government of Andhra Pradesh and Government of India for providing development funds for Kothapally watershed.
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