Watersheds are natural. Human intervention forces the changes in ecology and management practices . The training manual provides an account for socio-technical aspects of watershed.
The training manual by ICRISAT on integrated management of watersheds is meant for watershed development practitioners and provides an account of the socio-technical aspects of watershed. To begin with, the definitional aspects of watershed are spelt out -
- The term “watershed” strictly refers to the divide separating one drainage basin from another. However, over the years, the use of the term watershed to signify a drainage basin or catchment area has come to stay.
- Hydrologically, watershed could be defined as an area from which the runoff drains through a particular point in the drainage system.
Watersheds exist naturally and due to human intervention for agricultural purposes the changed ecology and management practices affect the well equilibrated ecologies. For maximum production of vegetation all the resources have to be managed efficiently and effectively. Efficient management of these resources is possible through a suitable unit of management so that these resources are managed and handled effectively, collectively, and simultaneously.
Watershed management can be defined as rational utilization of all the natural resources for optimum production to fulfill the present need with minimal degradation of natural resources such as land, water, and environment. Water can be managed if a watershed is taken as a unit. Since soil and vegetation can also be conveniently and efficiently managed in this unit, a watershed is considered the ideal unit for managing the vital resources of soil, water, and vegetation.
Participation of people is essential for the success of watershed programs. The concept of participatory watershed management emphasizes a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional approach. The process begins with the management of soil and water which eventually leads to the development of other resources. Watersheds should be used as an entry point for convergence of various natural resource management-based activities for improving the livelihoods rather than soil and water conservation programs.
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