Impact of Watershed Program and Conditions for Success:A Meta-Analysis Approach.Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 46 uri icon


  • Development of rain-fed areas in India is one of the prime concerns of the Government as 60 per cent of agriculture is rain-fed. Rain-fed areas are the hot-spots of poverty, water scarcity, malnutrition and are prone to severe land degradation. Watershed development program is considered and adopted as an effective tool to address problems of rain-fed areas in the country. Under the Comprehensive Assessment of watersheds in India, macro-level evaluation of 636 micro watersheds was done through meta-analysis. The results of meta-analysis revealed that watershed program is providing multiple benefits in terms of augmenting income, generating rural employment (151 person days ha-1), increasing crop yields, increasing cropping intensity (35.5%), reducing run-off (45%) and soil loss (1.1 t ha-1 y-1), augmenting groundwater, building social capital and reducing poverty. In terms of economic efficiency, watersheds generated an average benefit-cost ratio (B:C) of 2 and 0.6 per cent of watersheds failed to commensurate with the investment (2 and 27 per cent of watersheds yielded an IRR >30 per cent which showed immense potential to upgrade watershed program in the country. Community watershed can become a growth engine for sustainable development of drylands, however, there is an urgent need to upgrade watersheds by adopting holistic, participatory and business mode approach. Drivers of success of watersheds are documented and discussed in detail

publication date

  • 2008