Integrated watershed approaches in Andhra Pradesh - Need experiences in planning and institutional arrangements in implementing

Original Query: M. V. Rama Chandrudu, WASSAN, Hyderabad
Posted: 29 December 2005

Dear Members,

I am working with WASSAN, a support organization associated with natural resource management projects in Andhra Pradesh and other states. We provide several capacity building services such as training, field support services, anchor resource center, policy advocacy and networking. We work with networks of CBOs, NGOs and state governments.

Currently we are implementing a project that aims at “completely” developing a selected area (few hundreds of hectares) on watershed principles (which is also called saturating the area). In this context, I have the following query.

As you are aware, the GOI has been supporting the implementation of participatory micro watersheds projects covering 500 hectares since 1995. Most of the time these micro projects are allocated to scattered villages within the drought prone districts of the country. As the area development approach is confined to this small area in the selected villages, their impact is considered to be limited. On the other hand, there are experiences of developing water resources/bodies in a given large area (block, few thousand hectares of land etc.), but these are only "water focus" interventions (and are different from integrated approach of watershed - soil & moisture/ biomass, water, livestock and people's institutions, livelihoods/ productivity enhancement and so on). Experiences indicate that scattered micro watershed based approach (however integrated at micro level) has limited effectiveness.

My query to the Network members is; whether they have been involved in or know of projects (government/ bilateral/ NGO) that have attempted to address/develop a large area (few thousand hectares, as a compact block) in an integrated manner? In such cases, what have the experiences in terms of planning and institutional arrangements; and what have been the impacts of these projects vis-à-vis similar (small area) micro watershed projects?

Please see attachment below for the responses.