The Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India has initiated a discussion forum on “Improving community participation in Watershed Management” for which there has been an overwhelming response from the citizens of the country. We have received many useful suggestions and views on the subject.
The enthusiastic participation in the discussion has shown that people are concerned about the issue of water availability in the country. Very interesting views and ideas have been thrown in the discussion by some of which are being mentioned here.
Watershed management today is synonymous with poverty alleviation. A number of people have suggested the need for involving the community in watershed management. They have also said that all sections of the society should be involved in this work. There are also suggestions to provide incentives to people to implement water harvesting works on the principles of watershed management. There is almost unanimous view on implementing drip irrigation for efficient use of water in agriculture and horticulture. Some have reflected that aging water infrastructure, increasing demand, continued land use change, and increasingly extreme weather events are driving the costs of water management higher. Investing in integrated water management strategies that combine engineered solutions with “natural infrastructure” can reduce costs, enhance services, and provide a suite of co-benefits for communities and the environment.
More emphasis has to be given to in-situ soil moisture conservation practices and irrespective of the ownership of the land, contour bunds, gully plugging, stabilization of sloping land etc should be given more importance than mere check dam construction. There are also suggestions about recharging aquifers, storage of rain water in farm lands, building low cost structures for water harvesting and removing encroachments from kunds, talavs and other traditional water harvesting structures. There are also suggestions that good work done in watershed management must be shared.
A number of posts are also about other related issues of water management though not a part of watershed management, like the issue of rain water harvesting in the urban areas, collection and use of discharge water from cities and river linking in the country,
We have taken note of the posts and are working on bringing out a document on the key suggestions that have been made by the citizens. With time, these suggestions will definitely influence the program being implemented by the Department in a positive way.
The discussion forum has been active since September 2014 and has received more than two thousand posts and has served a very useful purpose. Therefore we will be closing this Discussion group shortly. We will subsequently come out with a Discussion group on another relevant aspect of water management in the country.
We hope that you shall keep up the participation and continue enriching us with your views and suggestions. We would also expect the participants to keep focused on the topic of the discussion so that the ideas, experiences and knowledge are shared in a useful manner.
Thanks to all who participated in a very meaningful way.
Watershed Management Team, Department of Land Resources