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Participatory Watershed Management: A Case Study of Salaiyur Watershed in Coimbatore, India

Participatory Watershed Management: A Case Study of Salaiyur Watershed in Coimbatore, India,Alok K. Sikka,M. Madhu,V. Selvi,Subhash Chand,D. V. Singh

Participatory Watershed Management: A Case Study of Salaiyur Watershed in Coimbatore, India  
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This paper presents the participatory watershed development at Salaiyur watershed in Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu, India. The strategies adopted towards community organization, basic resource survey/bench mark data collection, plan preparation and implementation through community participation have been discussed. Watershed interventions have helped in increasing groundwater recharge and duration of water availability in wells. The lining of shallow ponds with HDPE sheets resulted in significant water saving. Introduction of drip irrigation under banana and sugarcane observed water saving of 29 per cent. Crop Diversification Index has increased from 0.469 to 0.707 under rainfed condition and under irrigated condition from 0.59 to 0.762. The performance of mango and tamarind was observed to be good in the pits filled with original sieved soil + pond silt +FYM. People's participation was high. The SHGs formed in the watershed for non-land based income generation activities are performing very well. Watershed management becomes increasingly important as a way to improve livelihood of people while conserving and regenerating their natural resources. It has been observed in India and elsewhere that, effective community participation is a must to ensure the success and sustainability of watershed management programmes. Central Soil & Water Conservation Research & Training Institute, Research Centre, Udhagamandalam took up Salaiyur Watershed in Annur block of Coimbatore District in Tamil Nadu as a model watershed for wasteland development under Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) during the middle of 1997. Based on the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise and basic resource survey, an integrated action plan was developed and the works are being implemented through involvement of local community. About the watershed The Salaiyur watershed is located at the latitude of 11°13 N and longitude of 77°04 E. The watershed is characterized by a vast stretch of undulating to moderately sloping lands with hilly patches with an elevation varying from 370 m to 470 m above MSL. The average annual rainfall of the area is about 602mm and it comes under semi-arid sub tropical climate with high evaporative demand. The soils of the watershed in general are gravely with light textured red soils moderately deep to shallow. There is scarcity of available water resources and the ground water is depleting at an alarming rate. Participatory Planning and Implementation The programme was implemented following a participatory approach with active community participation at planning, execution and management levels. The bottom line concept in this programme was to develop it into a self sustaining programme through capacity building of the watershed community during the project planning and implementation phase so that after withdrawal of the project, community can keep the programme alive. Community Organisation and Capacity Building: Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and/or Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) exercises were conducted in the village to gather information, diagnose their problems, needs and priorities to arrive at a common outline of watershed development plan. A number of meetings were organized with the Watershed Community members in this regard and Watershed Association (WA), Watershed Committee (WC), Self Help Groups (SHGs) and User Groups
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