Micro-watershed development plans using remote sensing and GIS for Shetrunji river basin in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat

The study aims to identify natural resources problems and generate locale specific micro-watershed development plans for Shetrunji river basin in Bhavnagar district using remote sensing and GIS

Micro-watershed level planning requires a host of inter-related information to be generated and studied in relation to each other. Remotely sensed data provides valuable and up-to-date spatial information on natural resources and physical terrain parameters. Geographical Information System (GIS) with its capability of integration and analysis of spatial, aspatial, multi-layered information obtained in a wide variety of formats both from remote sensing and other conventional sources has proved to be an effective tool in planning for micro-watershed development.

The study of multi-date satellite data has revealed that the main landuse /landcover in the area is rainfed agriculture, wasteland with/without scrubs in the plains and undulating land and scrub forests with forest blanks on the hills. Due to paucity of ground water for irrigation, the rainfed agriculture area lacks sufficient soil and moisture to support good agriculture. The agriculture areas along the streams are constantly washed and undergo sheet erosion, thus converting valuable agricultural land into unproductive wastelands. For a major part of the year, the hills remain barren except for few small areas displaying a variety of thorny scrubs and few scattered trees growing along the less assessable slopes.

Few varieties of grasses also spring up during the monsoon. The degraded ecosystem has affected the life of the residents within the micro-watersheds. There is always a scarcity of fuel, fodder and water for drinking and domestic use. The depleting vegetation cover has resulted in excessive soil erosion exposing barren rocky wastes. The steep rocky hill slopes facilitate high runoff leading to poor ground water recharge and increased siltation in the village tanks and ponds. According to the local people even today shepherds from adjoining taluka regularly visit to graze hordes of sheep and cattle. In addition to this there is the problem of the ever-increasing human and livestock population. Thus a heavy pressure exists on the scarce biotic resources of the study area. The main actions suggested for development of land and water resources in the area are being implemented by Mahajanam in consultation with State Government. 

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