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Watershed management UPSC | Regional Development and Planning | Geography of India

Water is Watershed?

A Watershed is a geographical unit of land that drains water through a common point and drains into specific river channels or water bodies such as a lake.

For example, the drainage basin of a river is an example of a big watershed.

What is Watershed Management?

There are two views of Watershed Management:

In a Narrow sense:

Water management means efficient management and conservation of surface water as well as groundwater resources.

It includes:

  • Prevention of surface runoff
  • Water storing 
  • Improving the quality of water
  • Recharging groundwater through percolation tanks, recharge well, stone wall, check dam, lake, rooftop collection.

In broad Views:

  • Watershed management is conservation, regeneration, and judicious use of all resources both natural resources ( land, water, plants, animals), human resources, and human-made resources within the watershed.

Why is watershed management important?

It is important for:

  • Water management and groundwater recharging
  • Resource management and poverty reduction as it is an examples of a natural region
  • It is a tool for controlling water pollution as water comes within this region only.

Watershed Management included the following steps:

First Step;

  • Delineate watershed boundary

Second Steps:

  • Mapping of all resources exited within the watershed
  • Mapping of natural and mane made drainage systems
  • Land use pattern
  • Pollution source mapping
  • Erosional areas

In the 1970s, it was part of :

  • Drought prone areas program
  • Desert development program

But later many development projects of central and state governments project are linked to watershed management to eradicate rural poverty.

The following are the main components of Watershed management:

  • Conservation of Water
  • Conservation of land
  • Crop diversification
  • Pollution control
  • Promotion of non-forming practices such as animal husbandry

The following are some important Watershed management projects:

Haryali Watershed Development project:

  • Hariyali is a watershed management project of the Central government for enabling the rural population to conserve water for drinking, irrigation, fisheries, and afforestation.

Neeru-Meeru and Aravary Pani Sansad Watershed Development Project:

  • Neeru-Meeru in Andhra Pradesh ( water and you) and Aravary Pani Sansad in Rajasthan are some examples of successful watershed development projects. 

It leads to successful rejuvenation of the environment, rural economy, and agriculture in some areas.

Try to solve the following questions:

  • Discuss the relevance of ‘watershed’, as an ecosystem for the purpose of sustainable development. (UPSC)
  • The salient feature of watershed planning and its advantages and disadvantages. ( UPSC, 2012)
  • Explain the concept of a watershed and its utility in land management. (UPSC, 2001)
  • Discuss the relationship of the Watershed approach to village-level planning. ( UPSC, 2015)
  • Discuss how watershed management has become a tool in the eradication of rural poverty in India( UPSC, 2019)

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