Socioeconomic and Policy Research on Watershed Management in India Synthesis of Past Experiences and Needs for Future Research:Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 7 uri icon


  • Much of the progress in the past in terms of improving the productivity of agriculture and reducing poverty has occurred in areaswith favorable biophysical and socioeconomic conditions. As in many developing countries, more than two-thirds of the agriculturalland and the rural population in India are found in rainfed areas, which have been largely bypassed by the past process ofagricultural transformation. As opportunities for further productivity growth in more favored areas are being exhausted, there isan urgent need to invest in rainfed areas where widespread rural poverty, water scarcity and degradation of the resource base arestill critical development constraints. Several technical interventions for resource conservation in the past that neglected theeconomic and policy dimensions have failed. In the past few years, a new watershed and community-based approach that maintainspeople?s livelihoods at the heart of the debate on natural resource management has evolved. India is one of the countries that haveadopted this integrated watershed management approach as a vehicle for sustainable agricultural transformation and livelihoodsecurity in the rainfed areas. India has also gained significant experience in the implementation of this approach. With the objectiveof synthesizing this knowledge and identifying the needs for future research, this study was jointly undertaken by ICRISAT andIWMI, initially focusing on socioeconomic and policy aspects. The study provides a broad overview of the national policy andinstitutional frameworks for watershed development, followed by a detailed assessment of various institutional arrangements andwatershed management experiences using selected case studies. The major lessons and key determinants of successful watershedinterventions are identified from the case studies. The study concludes by highlighting the knowledge gaps and areas for futuresocioeconomic and policy research to enhance the impacts of watershed programs

publication date

  • 2004