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A Seminar Paper on




Abhinav Sharma

(Roll No. 128080011)

M.Phil in Planning and Development

Guided By:

Prof. Sarmishtha Pattanaik

and Development Guided By: Prof. Sarmishtha Pattanaik Department of Humanities & Social Sciences Indian

Department of Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

November 2012

Table Of Contents







What is Sustainable development?


What do we mean by Equity?


What do we mean by livelihood?





Equity Issues


Livelihood Issues


Sustainability issues







Water scarcity and poor water quality are a major concern in numerous countries, which mainly depend on agriculture for the livelihood of the people .Fresh water availability, is already a major factor in sustainable use of resources. The water scarcity is further accentuated by the ground and surface water pollution. So it is impertinent to note that the management of water resources plays a pivotal role in food & environmental security in the world characterized by increasing conflict over water resources. The concept of ‘watershed’ is very important in this regard and as it is a basic hydrological unit and hydrological and ecological processes govern the quality of soil and water in the area of watershed. Technically speaking the term watershed is defined as the drainage basin or catchment area of a particular river stream or an area from where the water flows into a particular drainage system, but over the time it has acquired a broad meaning and is now considered as a biological, physical, economic, and social system too (Menon, 2012 ).

As seen from above, watershed development is required to be holistic concept which integrates several components like soil and water conservation, forestry development, agriculture and livestock and other livelihood options, hence touching broad contours of environment and public life. This kind of integration in turn leads to environmental and social sustainability. But the question arises, how far have we have been able to succeed in achieving Equity, sustainability through watershed development? And how far this has succeeded in providing livelihood sources to the people?

Though the watershed development approach was adopted as early as 1949 yet status wise as today it stands fragmented in terms of activities, programs and funding sources (Vaidyanathan, 1991). There had been a tendency for proliferation of activities with special area, rural development and employment programs. Departments namely agriculture, forests, rural development, National Waste Land

Development Board and voluntary organizations are working on different programs like soil conservation, land shaping and development, minor irrigation, silvipasture, social or farm forestry and afforestation. MoRD has been implementing watershed development projects only since the late 1980s. It deals with non-forest wastelands and poverty alleviation programmes having components of soil and water conservation. Watershed programmes implemented by MoRD include the Drought Prone Areas Programme, Desert Development Programme, Integrated Wastelands Development Programme, and Externally Aided Projects (EAPs). Since 1989, the MOEF has been implementing the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Project, with the intention of promoting afforestation and development of degraded forests within an integrated watershed approach.


Broad objectives of the present review are as follows:

To review the literature on watershed development with emphasis on the issues of equity, sustainability and livelihood.

Examine the experiences of the various watershed programmes brings to light the issues through the lens of a normative framework adopting three important interconnected themes of sustainability, livelihoods, and equity.

To emphasise upon the importance of interconnectivity of the themes of sustainability, livelihood and equity and the impact of watershed development on them.


What is Sustainable development?

Sustainable development has been defined in many ways. While it refers to the

minimisation of entropy in the production process according to quantum mechanics

principle, it is reworked to ascribe a development which is environmentally non-

degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable [FAO

1991]. Operationally this definition has been further amended to take into account

the ecological sustainability in the case of renewable resources as managing the

environmental resources to ensure the long-term sustainable utilisation of species

and eco-systems, minimise the survival risk and generally keep open as many future

options as possible [IUCN 1980]. Hence, the concept of sustainability gradually gets

diluted to sustainable utilisation. Also, the Famous Bruntland commission also

defines sustainable development as.

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". (Brundtland, 1987)

As the problem is in situ and man-made, the people of the region hold the key for

dispensing with the problem. People participation for management of Common

Pooled Resources (CPRs) becomes an important ingredient to translate the goals of

sustainable development in an organisational context at the local level. With the

growing realisation that ‘development should be woven around people and not the

people around development’ (Haq, 1993), the concept of sustainable development

has attained a centre-stage. The important role of community participation in the

field of ecological, biological, technical and socio-cultural and economic context on

sustainable development is being realised.

What do we mean by Equity?

The term Equity is used in many fields ranging from finance, & accounting to law, economics to the social issues. Equity here implies fair access to livelihood, education and other resources; full participation in political, cultural & economic life of community and self-determination in meeting of fundamental needs (President's Council on Sustainable Development, 1996). The concept of equity is related to equal life chances regardless of identity and membership to any particular caste, class or group. The principle of equity applies to wide ranging issues relating to access to natural resources and sharing of gains, and it requires one to take cognizance of the disabilities created by class, gender, caste, and ethnicity. (Sen, Shah, & Kumar, 2007)

What do we mean by livelihood?

The dictionary definition of livelihood defines it as a means of securing the necessities of life. In social sciences the concept of livelihood extends to include social and cultural means i.e. the command and individual family, or other social group has over income or resources that can be exchanged to satisfy its needs. This may involve information, cultural knowledge, social networks, legal rights as well as tools, land and other physical resources. Livelihood encompasses building capabilities and assets to generate activities to support a basis for living. Some distinction has been made between basic needs and livelihood needs on the basis of whether they are unmediated or imposed with relation to production. In the field of watershed development we are mainly concerned with the physical resources of livelihoods (Sen, Shah & Kumar, 2007)


There is plethora of literature available on watershed management programme covering wide range of issues. However, In this section an attempt has been made to review the literature on different issues related to equity, sustainability & livelihood to arrive at a coherent understanding of Watershed development in light of these issues.

Equity Issues

Equity issues are intrinsically linked with nature of participatory institutions built within watershed development initiatives. Natural resources that are not privately owned have the potential to play a key role in reducing disparities across households within a watershed. While it is desirable that the entire stock of natural resources is shared equitably, the least that the participatory institutions ought to ensure is that the incremental resources generated through the interventions are shared fairly.

As put by Sangameshrawan (2006) in most natural resource management programmes, considerations about collective action, efficiency and sustainability have tended to get primacy over equity concerns. This is in spite of the fact that the importance of equity in all developmental programmes has now been emphasised in a variety of forums, for its linkages with sustainability and efficiency. In the case of watershed programmes also, adequate attention has not been paid to equity concerns.

Evaluation reports of watershed projects have very clearly brought out the fact that successful watershed projects which have sustained over the years were designed in such a way that every individual residing in the watershed area came to have a stake in the successful completion and maintenance of the watershed project. This is an important area, which many watershed projects have tended to neglect.

Inequities arise in watershed programmes due to a number of factors, some of them important ones are

Approach to Watershed development (i.e. integrated approach vs landholder centric approach)

Spatial location (i e, upstream versus downstream)

Differences of class, caste and gender

A landholder centric approach tends to align with the technical point of view but has severe ramifications on the equity concerns. Gains from a watershed project largely accrue to the landholders. Marginal farmers and agricultural labourers only benefit from the project on account of increased agricultural activity, which increases opportunities for employment. If flow of benefits from the watershed is not specifically channelized to these groups in terms of greater access to Common Property Resources (CPRs), fodder for their cattle and fuel requirements, little incentive remains for these groups to cooperate in rejuvenation of the CPRs through the mechanisms of social fencing or any other method which the community might choose for regeneration of non-agricultural land. The issue of equitable distribution of gains, therefore, is crucial to the sustainability the project in the long run. In this regard, providing access to land to the marginal and landless agricultural labourers through the mechanism of rights on harvested water could be one alternative. It may be desirable to incorporate sharing of water by all residents in a watershed project as one of the preconditions for selecting a village for watershed development project.

The rain-fed regions in India are typically in undulating, hilly or mountainous terrain. Such landscapes are characterised by great agro-ecological diversity as soil conditions and water availability may vary markedly even within a village. The great variation in rainfall across the country is the other source of ecological diversity in the rain-fed regions. Such landscapes also tend to be ecologically "connected" - what happens upstream affects the downstream and isolated actions bear no results (Deep Joshi,

2006). This interconnected nature of the upstream and downstream areas raises another concern for equity, because of uneven distribution of benefits of watershed development between them.

The inequities arising out of the membership of persons to a particular class, caste or gender is another aspect of several watershed development programmes. This kind of inequity is a result of certain existing power structures in the region which tend to get challenged by the community programs like watershed development. The dominant groups then try to assert their dominance over the resources and try to corner maximum benefits from the watershed development programs, leaving the other groups (class, caste or gender) deprived of these benefits. The role caste and class has been evident in many studies related to watershed development and has been highlighted as a cause of success or failure in many examples. While a democratically constituted watershed institution should be in a position to intervene in the issues regarding encroachment of CPRs for cultivation, or sharing of forest products, it may be difficult to do so in heterogonous societies ridden with class and/or caste conflicts. In relatively homogenous societies, the participatory institutions would have far greater potential to apply the principle of equity in many of the above-mentioned settings. Also there are examples of unsuccessful projects due to huge inequities and resulting conflict of interest among the heterogeneous class & caste setup (D’Silva & Pai, 2003). The role of women and the inequities faced by women in the watershed development programs has also been studied and the impact of these programs enabling women to participate on an equal footing with men in the decision-making process regarding watershed management is highlighted in sample studies from Madhya Pradesh by Action for social advancement in their paper Watershed Development in Madhya Pradesh: Implications for Women, wherein they have the problem of inequity due to gender and the ways of tackling this exclusion. (ASA, 2007).

Some of the important examples highlighting the issue of equity in watershed development programs are given below:

The Sukhomajiri Experience

This watershed development program in Haryana introduced a new approach to equitable water resource sharing in line with the traditional methods of allocation called Warabandi . As per the method water was allocated first to people and then to land. Even a landless had equal share in water available for the irrigation in the dam. Thus as a result of this watershed development program the village has achieved ecological and economic sustainability, people have achieved food security. In about 3 decades the villagers have faced problems of drought even in drought period. This model was further replicated in parts of shiwalik and Punjab and had a profound impact of the people participation and equity in the dimensions of income, resource distribution etc. in the watershed development (Grewal S.S 1995, Krishna 1996).

The Hivre Bazar Experience (Sangameshwaran, 2006)

An important example of equity in watershed development has been given by Priya Sangameshrawan in her study of the Watershed program in Hivre Bazar, Maharashtra. The project has led to at least some improvement in the lives of most villagers. In addition, measures such as the targeting of developmental schemes and provision for fodder via turns on the common grazing lands have meant that even those traditionally excluded from the benefits of a watershed development intervention or those losing out from it - usually the lower landholding classes such as marginal farmers, and the landless - have benefited in some way. Increased demand for wage labour - one of the indirect effects of watershed development - has benefited the landless households. Further, watershed-plus measures such as better access to health and education facilities and improvement in drinking water facilities have contributed to improving the quality of life of the landless. SHGs provide the means to overcome temporary monetary shortfalls; along with developmental schemes, they may also increase access to assets like small animals. Also, that this

targeting of the landless and marginal farmers while implementing watershed-plus measures took place without any "demands" for the same emanating from them.

According to her the equity concerns in any project are influenced by a many of factors such as the different concepts of equity by the various agents involved, macro-level factors such as government policies and laws on relevant subjects, and the nature of the development process that people are interested in setting in motion. The equity potential of watershed development is limited by certain minimum requirement of land-holding by the beneficiaries; while the logic behind this is that without a certain level of landholding, the water would not be optimally used, the result is that marginal farmers find it difficult to avail benefits of the schemes. There is also the question of whether the indirect gains of watershed development as well as watershed-plus measures offer an adequate substitute for access to significant assets such as water and land

The Hivre Bazar experience is quite inspiring despite of the constraints, not only in terms of its equity outcome, but also in terms of improvement in livelihoods and the impact on sustainability. The measures to minimize the negative impact of measures like the ban on grazing, the restrictive rules about use of water and the careful targeting of watershed-plus measures have resulted in balancing out the equity concerns of the watershed program .

The lesson on equity learnt from Hivre bazar Watershed development program:

Hivre Bazar therefore gives an important lesson, that some of the inequities considered "inherent" to watershed development projects can be partially remedied by local-level initiative, and it is important to think about ways in which this experience can be used to improve the equity outcome in other watershed development projects. At the same time, it would also be useful to reflect upon the limitations in equity in Hivre Bazar and the questions raised by them about the kind of development one is aiming for, the best way to meet the livelihood requirements

of the landless and marginal in rural areas as well as to empower them, and how to reconcile different notions of equity( Sangameshwaran, 2006).

The success of watershed projects depends to a large extent on the ability of the watershed community to address issues of equity, maintenance of watershed community structures created and the sustainability of such arrangements. It has been observed in a few cases that the initial cooperation of the community in a watershed project had come about as all stake holders in the area were more or less similarly placed economically. With the successful implementation of watershed projects, land owning families experienced higher level of income which created fissiparous tendencies in the community. The sections left out have very little stake in maintaining Watershed structures or adhering to the strict conventions that watershed community imposed on itself in the initial years of the project for natural regeneration of grasslands or forests within the watershed. Reports of trees being cut and grasslands being put under extreme biotic pressures have been documented. These issues would need to be adequately tackled if the movement is to become self-sustaining in the long run. (Sangameshwaran, 2006)

To address these issues the approach to these watershed programs needs to be modified. One of the approaches may be where; the landholders in the watershed get water for irrigation. However, the non-land owning families in the village get a larger share of output from the Common Property Resources (CPR) which gets rejuvenated after successful completion of the project. This will enable many families to take up animal husbandry as an occupation and meet their fodder and fuel requirements from the CPR. Fishing rights on ponds constructed as part of the watershed project are only given to the self-help groups of the landless. These arrangements will effectively increase access of poor to the land and other sources of livelihood and improve their standard of living. These innovations have yet to be adopted widely and need to be up scaled. (Sangameshwaran, 2006)

Decentralisation of Watershed development programs and equity

In India a kind of decentralisation approach which involves the panchayats and village based institutions has been studied by M. Gopinath Reddy and M. Srinavas Reddy (2006), wherein they have tried to understand the process issues of institutional assessment of the institutions like village panchayats given their emergence at the centre stage of the management of the natural resources as mandated by the constitutional amendments (73 rd amendment) and policy guidelines (Harayali guidelines, 2003) which necessarily have equity as their objective.

The decentralised approach to watershed development is being studied by many authors. I J Fidelman have brought forward the examples of decentralised natural resource management from New South Wales, Australia. The paper provides a detailed account of Catchment management strategy at different levels, wherein the policy and the organisational levels are more centralized and involve the formulation of acts, regulations and several authorities and committees, while the at the operational level decentralisation strategy is adopted and the local bodies and user groups play a larger role. The author has also tried to approach challenges through an evaluative framework for this kind of decentralised natural resource management strategy. The increased involvement of the local bodies and user groups has positive implication on addressing the equity issues arising out of the watershed development programs. (I.J.Fidelman, 2000)

Livelihood Issues

In the normative framework, natural capital is accorded primacy over social, physical, human and financial capital in supporting livelihood needs. The relationship between natural capital and livelihood is not predictable; a decrease in the base of natural capital may not always lead to an adverse livelihood status. For example, a reduced natural resource base may induce a farmer to adopt better cultivation management practices. (Sen, Shah, Kumar, 2007)

Watershed management has been conceived basically as a strategy for improvement in agriculture, prevention of soil erosion water harvesting etc. and is mainly centred around land development. But as suggested by the Hanumantha Rao committee report (1994) that if the watershed development programmes is viewed as a ‘rural livelihood’ rather that land development programme, women and poor marginal farming households will benefit, given their dependence on many non- land based activities. Also the Parthasarathy committee report (2006) has made contribution the report makes is to introduce the word" livelihoods" into the watershed development, to give watershed development a larger social perspective and purpose. By focusing on livelihoods watershed development can be the main poverty alleviation programme, given the varied contours of poverty in India. It would then also become the driver of decentralised growth, growth with distribution. Unfortunately, livelihoods come out in the report as an add-on, a kind of "water-shed plus" rather than the core objective of watershed development programmes. To that extent, the report has been shackled by contemporary programmes and practices. The Harayali Guidelines (2003) brought out by Department of Land Resources for the implementation of watershed development programmes under IWDP also envisage Employment generation, poverty alleviation, community empowerment and development of human and other economic resources in rural areas as the objectives of watershed development.

The detail of watershed scheme is determined by what one wants from it and what can be obtained sustainably. Livelihoods are the objective function which is to be maximised through watershed development and sustainability is the constraint that sets the boundaries. The specific interventions or "treatment" in the watershed are dictated by the objective function of livelihood, and not vice versa. (Joshi, 2006)

According to Deep Joshi, this shift in emphasis towards livelihood is a new paradigm and calls for a great deal of creativity and innovation. It has major implications for the kind of agency required, the processes to be followed, equity, potential for social conflict/cooperation, etc. Multiple plans can be made for a given watershed, each with different implications for local livelihoods. For example a check dam may be built to harvest rainwater and then begin to worry about fisheries as a livelihood, or one may conceive of fisheries as a livelihood on the basis of objective analysis carried out jointly with the watershed inhabitants and then plan appropriate water storage structures to rear fish; clearly, the two are fundamentally different approaches. Without the focus on livelihoods, water-shed development practice would continue to follow the old paths and techniques. (Joshi, 2006).

Nevertheless, despite all the above concerns, the watershed development strategy has contributed a great deal in enhancing the livelihoods of people in the areas where these programmes were implemented. There are many examples arising out of different parts of country where there was a considerable positive impact on the livelihood of the people. Some of these stories are illustrated below:

The Sukhomajiri experience

This was a successful watershed management project in Haryana and it also gets credit for the evolution of the concept of ‘social fencing’ which is essentially the strategy for protecting soil in the common areas of village. The main occupation of the Gujjars living in the village was cattle and goat rearing and hence grazing was rampant in the region leading to degradation of the land in the nearby forest. The

impetus of the watershed program was to protect the land from degradation and increase the irrigation facilities to the villagers. After the increase of irrigation facilities the crop yield increased and villagers gave up goat rearing. Due to reduced grazing the land as well as the forest cover increased. The experiment was successful in providing alternative occupation to the villagers for their livelihood and was successful in increasing the household incomes as well. The other places where this model was replicated also experienced a profound increase in the incomes and new livelihood opportunities. For instance the farming community income increased by around 21 percent in kandi watershed in Punjab, also additional incomes from milk production accrued to the farmers. (Iyer and Roy, 2005)

Sustainability issues

The understanding of sustainability, in our view, is limited to environmental sustainability as mediated by human intervention, and this is consistent with our assumption about the primacy of the role of natural capital in supporting livelihoods. Thus, from this perspective, watershed development should focus on conserving natural capital. A possible conflict may arise between the aims to increase productivity by increasing physical or financial capitals on one hand and conserving the natural capital on the other. The primacy accorded to the natural capital would require that the productive planning of the watershed. In bad years some transfers from the stock of resources may be permitted to sustain livelihoods, with the understanding that the stock would be replenished in the good years.

As discussed in the conceptual underpinning the concept of sustainable development acquired prominence after it was formulated by the World Commission of environment and development (Bruntdland Commission, 1987) in its reports ‘our common future .This concept of Bruntdland Commission has an implicit assumption that development based on human plunder of natural resources is inhuman and development with human face is only sustainable. However it neglects an important issue of global equity and gives way to certain inequity. The concept of sustainable development in the context of watershed development raises the issue of inequity and advocates for the ‘development’ with people participation and ‘Equity’ as basic ingredient of sharing of natural resources. This concept of sustainability is broad based and incorporates ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability. By ecological sustainability we mean the basic function of watershed development programmes like regeneration of forest cover, reduction of soil erosion, increasing of soil water potential by employing efficient natural resource management practices. The economic sustainability would ensure sustainable livelihood in terms of economic productivity, food & fodder security, fuel security and employment security. Further, the socio-cultural sustainability include the formation of new

institutions and strengthening of existing socio-cultural institutions, the main components of socio-cultural sustainability are promotion of social equity and social empowerment. (Iyer, and Roy, 2005)

The socio-cultural sustainability has many ingredients some of which are facilitating it like the building up of local level institutions for CPR management, equitable distribution of resources, consistent government support, participation of people organisations, dynamic leadership, improved education status and people participation in every stage of the watershed development; class, gender and caste euity etc. ; while others hindering the growth like conflicts in CPR management (both inter & intra village), lack of government support, lack of unity among people, lack of motivation and illiteracy, hoarding of benefits by influential people, flow of migration, gender-caste-class inequity etc. (Iyer & Roy, 2005)

Social Capital formation and sustainability

The relation between social capital and sustainability is being analysed by Chopra (2006). An evolving and increasing stock of social capital forms a necessary input for sustained development. The paper examines concepts of social capital, and its role as an index of synergy between agents located in different formal sectors. Development is seen as the policy objective in a large number of developing countries. Achieving it with sustainability of resource use shall require formulation policy interventions which use formal institutions in conjunction within informal institutions like village level communities etc. The concept of 'social capital' is useful when interpreted as the networking between sets of agents located in different sectors, which is critical to the success of such development interventions. This networking creates the ground rules for sustainability in watershed development interventions and develops trust and coordinated actions for development (Chopra, 2006)

Watershed development has emerged as only a way of developing and managing natural resources to make the most of the elements from the land-based portion of

the water cycle, in a sustainable manner. But there are some basic issues to be tackled first i.e. What should be sustained? A range of answers could be found in different texts ranging from sustaining the existing level of production, sustaining the current level and quality of productive resources and the symbiosis to sustain the current well-being of the people. (Joshi, 2006)

A Contrast to conception of Sustainability in Irrigated and Dry regions

All the aspects mentioned suit perfectly to the irrigated region where the current quality of life and the current level of productive resources as well as production appear to be in conformity with the socially acceptable standard of living. On the contrary, the prevailing situation neither is conducive nor provide for a socially acceptable living in the dry region. In addition, the poor economic condition and erratic weather further aids to the degradation process both in the quality of life and quality of the natural resources. Hence, the sustainable development in the dry watershed region has to be reworked to comprehend the situation completely. There are evident changes in cropping pattern and the shift towards a set of lucrative commercial crops. While most of the coarse millets noticeably have lost their significance, the more drought resistant oilseeds gained more land than other crops. It appears to be a common trend in both scarcity and transition zones, which according to environmentalists, appears to be the beginning of an end. In such situation watershed development prepares the ground for sustainable agriculture. The considerable positive change in the tree crops also supports the environmental aspects of agriculture by facilitating the rain water to leach greater depth along-the roots of the trees which in turn ensures moisture retention for a longer period. This emphasises the linkages among agricultural production and environment to have a sustainable agriculture.

IWDP and Sustainability

The Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP) for rainfed (plain) regions is

a manifestation of the shift in the policy approach which emphasised long-term

environmental sustainability rather than enhancing farm productivity. It deviates

from the earlier approach of the model watershed projects for the dry land area which was heavily focused on mechanical Soil water conservation measures along

with a comprehensive package of agronomic practices to bring significant increase in farm productivity. Unlike the earlier strategy, the new approach adopted by IWDP is

to achieve sustainable productivity gains over a longer period of time. Therefore, the

project lays special emphasis on in situ conservation.

An analysis to examine the performance of IWDP from the two micro-watersheds, viz, Vatrak and Narmada in the dryland regions of Gujarat has been done by Amita Shah. At the time of the survey (i e, in July 1994), the project had completed three years of implementation which is rather a short time span to ascertain the impact on crop productivity. Therefore, besides quantitative estimates, qualitative information was also collected to capture farmers' perceptions. The analysis is based on a primary survey of 200 cultivating households, "with and without" the project's interventions. The major issues addressed by the study are: (a) what kind of traditional Soil Water Conservation measures were adopted by the farmers? (b) To what extent vegetative measures have contributed to yield gains? (c)What are the farmers' perceptions about the impact of vegetative measures, and what kind of support do they expect from the project? (Shah, 1998 )

As per the authors, the above analysis suggested that in a farming environment, where a large number of farmers have already adopted soil water conservation measures along with fairly wide adoption of improved seed varieties and chemical fertiliser, vegetative measures alone cannot make any significant impact on crop productivity. What they need therefore is a set of measures which they cannot

manage with their individual resources. Hence, external intervention to overcome financial as well as organisational constraints becomes essential for facilitating farmers' investment in land and water resources. Vegetative measures, having environmentally favourable impact but bringing limited yield gains create divergence between the private and social returns. Hence, these measures cannot be promoted in isolation of the measures that improve farm productivity on private land; provision of subsidy or motivational efforts may bring only limited success which also may not last for long. (Shah, 1998)

Institutional Approach to Sustainable Watershed Management

An institutional approach to watershed management has been proposed by V.Ratna Reddy with main emphases is on the sustainability of the approach. The paper has analysed the theories of Collective Action related to watershed development and has focussed on critical evaluation of approach and its evolution. The paper also focusses on problems & dilemmas related to the management of common pool resources (CPR) and the issues related to equity in these programs, and propose an innovative institutional approach to the above problems which is also conducive to the evolution of watershed management as a sustainable process. (Reddy, 2003)

Some of the important examples highlighting the impact on sustainability in watershed development programs are given below:

The impact on sustainability in Punjab

The impact evaluation studies on sustainability were conducted in Punjab in 1998 in 12 villages of 2 watershed areas, and the major points that were highlighted in the studies were related to all the three types of sustainabilities discussed above. In the realm of ecological sustainability, afforestation was a major achievement which resulted in increased vegetative cover and restoration of degraded hill slopes and the deployment of soil conservation measures was also successful. In Economic

sustainability the increase in irrigated area (29.6 % to 55.1 %) resulted in change in cropping pattern and increased yield, also the livestock was increased resulting in increased milk production (25-50 %). On the social sustainability front both positive and negative outcomes were observed. Among the positive outcomes was the increased awareness level about the village development committee (VDC), among the negative outcomes was the minimal participation of women, no NGO participation, no participation in microplanning and siphoning off of majority of benefits by the farming community. Hence we see that the watershed development strategy touches every aspect of sustainability in some or the other way. (Roy & Iyer,


The impact on sustainability in Bundelkhand Watersheds

The Bundelkhand region represents transition zone of tropical dry sub-humid and tropical dry arid regions. In view of the fragile status of the natural resources in the region, there is no alternative to their management than on a watershed basis. The watershed development in this arid region of bundelkhand had a profound impact on sustainability in the region. On ecological front the measures for increasing the vegetative cover and reduction of soil and water loss, increased water availability for future use by storing in ponds, increased water table , on the economic front it was through maximising productivity, and stabilizing the income of people through integrated crop-livestock-tree-people development. Also on socio-economic front the people were integrated together by ensuring their participation in the watershed program and the effects on the ecological and economic sustainability further percolated in the socio economic upliftment of people in the watershed region. ( Solanki, Karimulla & Dadhwal )


The issues of equity, livelihood and sustainability interplay with each other and thereby play and important role in making a watershed development scheme a success or a failure. These issues are quite overlapping and cannot be put into separate compartments. Therefore a holistic approach is required when an attempt is made to review the watershed development schemes with focus on equity, sustainability and livelihood. Also, there is a need to recognise water-shed technology as a common good, which needs participatory development. For a long time Water-shed development programmes have been treated like any other programmes, emphasising spread rather than sustainability. Unlike in the case of individual based technologies like HYV the watershed technology is subject to the constraints and hence the results are not dramatic. Unless this constraint is recognised and given due importance, it is unlikely to achieve the desired objectives. The recognition of importance of the intertwined nature of these three factors and accordingly planning the implementation would go a long way in making the watershed development a success story. Apart from that the realisation of importance of social capital formation at different levels and forms would further boost the impact of watershed development on the issues of equity, sustainability and livelihood. Any perfect example of watershed development is difficult to find, because it is contingent upon the local conditions, the social setup etc. but there is a visible trend towards overall development the gradual evolution of watershed development as a strategy for sustainable development with a profound equity in outcomes and a positive impact on livelihood generation. The need of the hour is to insulate this evolved and rejuvenated strategy for watershed development from the detrimental factors like political influences, caste/class polarisations, hoarding of benefits by influential groups and prevent it from losing its core focus on overall development.


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