Improved Water Balance and Ecosystem Services Through Integrated Watershed Development
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Agricultural water management (AWM) interventions in Kothapally watershed enhanced provisional, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services. Kothapally watershed, which was in degraded stage before 1999, is transformed into highly productive stage through science-led natural resource management interventions. A number of AWM interventions such as field bunding, low-cost gully control structures and masonry check dams, etc., were built as per hydrological assessment and need of the community. Ridge to valley approach of rainwater harvesting addressed equity issue as farmers from upstream end benefited along with downstream users. A number of AWM interventions reduced surface runoff (30–60%) and soil loss (two- to fivefolds) and enhanced groundwater recharge (50–150%) and base flow. Water table increased from 2.5 to 6.0 m on an average after the AWM interventions. This change has translated into surplus irrigation water availability and crop intensification especially during post monsoonal season. Further, all such changes translated into better crop yield, higher cropping intensity, and higher crop production and net income over the years that resulted into building the resilience of the individuals and community to cope with droughts and impacts of climate change. This case study clearly indicates that large untapped potential exists in dryland areas which could be harnessed through science-led NRM interventions. Scaling up approach of these interventions through pilots at various locations in India, Thailand, Vietnam, and China demonstrated the potential for overcoming food and water scarcity sustainably and at the same time contributing to meet the sustainable development goals of zero hunger, water availability, and climate actions.
KeywordsWater balance Groundwater recharge Hydrologcial model SWAT Building system resilience
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