Impact of Watershed Development in Low Rainfall Region of Maharashtra: A Case Study of Shekta Watershed.Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 49 uri icon


  • Rainfed agriculture has an important role in development of agriculture in India and it will also continue to play in the future as 60% arable land in the country is rainfed. Watershed development is an important strategy for sustainable development of drylands. Impact assessment of Shekta Watershed in Ahmednagar District, a rain shadow region of Sahyadris in Maharashtra was undertaken as a micro-level case study. The region receives low rainfall (465 mm/yr), is drought prone, poverty is wide spread and migration from rural areas is common in this watershed village. The watershed development approach evaluated a capacity building phase, demand driven and net planning with each family. Exactly 59% of the watershed area was treated with soil and water conservation measures spending 38.6% (Rs. 1.1 million) development budget and 32.6% on rainwater harvesting structures. Groundwater availability has substantially increased as evident from the 48% increase in number of wells, increase in number of seasonally and perennially active wells, increase in crop productivity of 3.6 to 189% over district average yieldfor different crops, increase in cropping intensity by 28% from 1998-99 to 2004-05 was observed. Diversified farming systems with high-value crops such as wheat and vegetables as well as livelihood sources such as livestock rearing and micro-enterprise benefited people in terms of increased crop yields, income, improved livelihoods and reduced seasonal migration by 60%. Watershed development was economically beneficial with a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 1.5 with an internal rate of return (IRR) of 16% along with development of rural institutions and protection of the environment

publication date

  • 2008