Hydrological problems in the Kandi belt of Jammu region – A research report by National Institute of Hydrology

This report is a compilation of the status of natural resources as well as of the hydrological problems & constraints being faced in the Kandi belt of Jammu region of Jammu & Kashmir. Suitable actions and methods are recommended to tackle these problems in the study area.

The submontane tract lying in the outer Himalayas of Jammu division of Jammu and Kashmir is locally termed as Kandi belt. This unit is an extension of the Kandi belt in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttaranchal. The upper portion of Kandi belt consists of low hills covered by shrubs and forest, and the lower terrain has cultivated lands and gully beds. It has an undulating topography, steep and irregular slopes, erodible and low water retentive soils and badly dissected terrain by numerous gullies.

The major land and water management problems being faced in the Siwalik hills and Kandi belt include excessive runoff, soil erosion, land degradation and erratic rainwater distribution in space and time, thereby hampering agricultural production. The groundwater table in the region is deep. Streams of the area carry huge amount of debris material during rainy season due to fragile geological conditions.

Human activities such as cutting of trees and shrubs for domestic purposes and unmanaged agricultural practices have aggravated the denudation rate. The soil loss has affected the agricultural production and hydrological regime to a large extent. The flashy flows of the streams and rivulets in the Kandi belt has denuded most of the top fertile soil, and due to excess runoff water, the area remains devoid of water except in the monsoon months.

If through appropriate soil and water conservation measures, rainwater in the Kandi belt can be harvested and conserved, this would result in mitigating the problems being faced in both the Kandi and Sirowal belts. In order to control the spread of the degraded lands in this area and to restore these for productive purposes, a comprehensive strategy for survey, monitoring and planning is required.

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