Remote sensing based rapid watershed health appraisal: a case study of Rajasthan by national watershed development project for rainfed areas (NWDPRA)

Eight micro-watersheds, distributed over different agro climatic zones of Rajasthan were studied for their performance in terms of biomass gain, landuse change and changes along drainage line

This study presents a remote sensing based rapid watershed health appraisal of NWDPRA watersheds of Rajasthan. The study area is distributed across 8 agro-climatic zones ranging from desertic western plain to humid southern and south-eastern plain. The satellite data prior to treatment year (1988) was compared with post-treated year (1996), to reveal the noticeable changes over a span of 8 years.

Visible surface manifestations due to watershed treatments were recorded in terms of increase in number and extent of water bodies, forest/horticultural plantation, and agro-forestry. For comparing the performance of the watersheds located at different agro climatic set up a comprehensive rating procedure was adopted for quantification and parametric evaluation of the changes, which considers all the visible impacts discernible in the data. The ratio of performance of watersheds in the year 1996 over base year i.e. 1988 gives the remote sensing based watershed health index (RSWHI). The performance of the watersheds at different agro-ecological set up has been described in details. 

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