Watershed management is scientific approach and now has become a medium of Central and State Governments for planning of rural development schemes. It includes conservation, development and optimum utilization natural resources like soil, water, vegetation,etc. to reduce soil erosion, moderate floods, alleviate drought, improve water availability for increasing food, fodder, fuel, timber and fibre production on sustainable basis. Besides, it also helps in employment generation, development of human and other economic resources of village to promote savings and income generating activities. In India, watershed development project is taken up under various programmes launched by the Government of India. The main aim is to manage the land and water resources for sustained production.
Identification of watershed is started by project implementing agency (PIA) level by involving all Government departments, people representatives, etc. The criteria of watershed selection depend on overall protection and improvement of watershed resources. Areas suffering from severe soil erosion, acute shortage of water for drinking/irrigation, sedimentation problems and having large population of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, predominance of wasteland etc. are generally given priority.
Water Shed Boundary
First and foremost, the toposheet that gives the detailed of contour, drainage system, etc. of selected area is obtained from respective departments. The boundary of watershed is delineated on toposheet and then enlarged to appropriate scale, e.g. 1:5000 or 1:2500 for more detail. In addition to this, cadastral/revenue map showing the land-holding of the area is obtained from Panchayat/collectorate of respective area. The cadastral map is reduced/enlarged as same scale as watershed map, and then superimposed on watershed map to get field boundaries of individual farmer within watershed boundary. In absence of these maps, sketch map of the watershed is developed. The sketch map should include all major physical features including drainage lines, existing structure etc.