Water management in developing country: A case study of a watershed development program in the state of Bihar, India
These file attachments have been under embargo and were made available to the public after the embargo was lifted on 29 October 2010.
It has for long been assumed that low-income communities do not know their infrastructure needs, so that decisions have been made by authorities without obtaining information and understanding of household and agricultural water demand. This top-down approach has been the reason for the failure of many water management initiatives, particularly in areas of erosion and reduced soil fertility. Watershed management plays a crucial role in sustainable development along the dry northern fringe of the Indian Peninsula. Two such watershed schemes of Banka District in the state of Bihar, India – Baratanr and Heth Chanan watersheds, both located in the Chandan drainage basin – have been studied to assess the impact on the environment and society, The methodology involved field study,obtaining data on various physical and social parameters, inputs from maps and GPS data, GIS mapping and final analysis. It is found that there are increases in surface water availability, ground water level and soil moisture. Rapid soil erosion due to deforestation is controlled both by treatment and by reforestation procedures. Immediate impact is felt in agriculture productivity, with an increase of irrigated land and single cropping gradually giving way to multiple cropping patterns. The case studies show the importance of participatory approach in effective watershed management. Notable also is the innovation in standard procedures of watershed management that is based upon traditional knowledge and existing resources. Ultimately the sustainability of these projects is gradually paving the way for socio-economic development and gender equity of the otherwise deprived zone.