Significant Gains From Watershed Development Programme
1. Soil and moisture conservation:
Soil and moisture conservation is the basic need in rained agriculture. Top soil is the most fertile part of the soil profile. This layer is lost due to erosion causing decrease in yield. Agronomic and mechanical measures for soil and moisture conservation are adopted in the watershed such as contour farming, strip cropping, mixed cropping, inter – cropping, contour / graded bunding, vegetative barriers etc.
2. Increase in water storage:
Due to construction of surface water storage structures like minor irrigation tanks, percolation tanks, nala bunds, farm ponds etc. the excess runoff water is collected in these storage structures which in turn is used either for supplement irrigation for field crops, horticultural crops or for drinking water to animals. Thus, additional area can be brought under irrigation.
3. Increase in number of wells:
Due to considerable improvement in ground water recharge, the numbers of dugout wells or tube wells are increased. The farmer can apply protective irrigation to various field crops whenever necessary. Thus the area under well irrigation is increased.
4. Increase in cropping intensity:
Due to increase in water resources and adoption of appropriate crop management practices, and area under double cropping is increased, which results in increasing cropping intensity.
5. Increase in fertilizer use:
Due to increase in water potential and moisture conservation measures, the fertilizer use by the farmers is increased.
6. Improvement in crop production and productivity:
Adoption of vegetative and mechanical conservator measures, results in considerable reduction in soil, water and nutrient losses from the watershed area. Further adoption of improved crop management practices results in appreciable increase in crop productivity and total crop production from these areas.
7. Animal and milk production:
Appropriate management of marginal lands with productive grasses and pastures, the total forage resources are increased which reflects in increasing animal component resulting increase in meat and milk production.
8. Increase in afforestation and alternate land use:
For producing fuel, fodder and timber, alternate land use programme is implemented in watersheds. Dryland horticultural species in addition to fuel and fodder tree species have shown promise in the watersheds.
9. Employment generation and increase in per capita income:
Due to optimization of available resources, there is increase in employment generation to farm families throughout the year. Due to overall increase in production and productivity in the entire watershed, there is considerable increase in per capita income.