Watershed development has the potential of ensuring long-term improvements in soil-water conservation, livelihoods and agricultural productivity. Aranya has been implementing watershed projects since year 2002. Two projects have been completed covering 3,000 hectares and directly benefitting 1,100 farmer families. A third project over 10,000 hectares is currently underway.
Aranya’s role in such projects includes various responsibilities like:
- Mobilising and motivating the community to co-operate and collaborate – since watershed development requires strategic planning and land treatments across contiguous lands owned by many different families
- Creating community based institutions like Watershed Committees, Water Users’ Associations and building their capacities to function effectively i.e. regular tasks of office bearers, meeting procedures, documentation, monitoring, interacting with govt. functionaries etc.
- Preparing plans in consultation with the community
- Facilitating convergence amongst various stakeholders across the community, government departments and other local institutions
- Execution of NRM (Natural Resource Management) works following ridge to valley approach; creating various kinds of structures for soil-water conservation including bunds, earthen dams, percolation tanks, drainage channels and appropriate plantations and crops.
- Organising regular trainings and exposure visits from time to time
- Encouraging adoption of low cost technologies and building upon indigenous technical knowledge
- Promoting and supporting effective farming practices that enhance productivity
- Facilitating appropriate financial management by the community based institutions for watershed development
- Systematic hand-over of the assets created to the community and/ or local institutions or government departments.
The various watershed projects implemented by Aranya include:
- Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) 2013-19
This project being implemented in collaboration with the Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Department is to benefit more than 4,000 farmers and covers 10,000 hectares of land
- Watershed Development Fund (WDF) 2004-14
This project funded by NABARD and APRO involved and benefitted 600 farmers (population of 2,500) and covered 500 hectares of land.
- DWMA 2002-08
This project with DWMA support benefitted more than 1,500 farmers and covered 2,500 hectares of land.