Watershed development review: issues and prospects - a technical report by Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development (CISED)

The present review hopes to contribute to the process of ensuring that the experiences from the first generation of watershed development are fully understood and internalized

The normative framework underlying the review “Understanding watershed development” requires a “normative framework” embracing the notions of “watershed” and “watershed development’, and how they are translated into practice. Such translation may also be based upon additional assumption about what is possible and desirable, and how to bring these changes about.

The review finds that watershed development has improved livelihood opportunities for watershed communities though the degree of improvement varies from the spectacular to the “now not very good”. The distribution of benefits has not always been even, and there are also reversals though in all cases some livelihood improvement has taken place. On the whole, watershed development shows significant impact in better years, but has not mostly been able to insure against bad years.

The review also makes specific suggestions for research in different areas as listed below: Hydrological : a)  cross-scale and  inter -scale hydrological effects (upper to valley portions, intra- and inter-watershed relations up to basin scale) ;   b) surface water-groundwater interactions; c) aquifer behaviour, in particular balance between shallow and deep aquifers, their sizes, recharge rates, locations, and so on; d) net effect of different soil and water conservation measures as well as afforestation and agricultural  practices on quantities like infiltration and erosion under different geo-physical conditions. 

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