Dr.Susheela.B, I.A.S
Chief Executive Officer,
Zilla Panchayath, Dharwad

Today :20/04/2021

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What is Watershed?

The word watershed refers to a “contiguous area draining into a single water body or a water course” or “it is a topographical area having a common drainage”. This means that the rainwater falling on an area coming within a ridgeline can be harvested and will flow out of this area thorough single point. Some refer it as a catchment area or river basin.


What is Watershed Development ?

Simply, we can say it is the development of watershed area based on type of soil, depth of soil, vegetative cover, harvestable rain water in that area and watering that area and water budgeting and treatment given to soils from the ridge to the valley. It is not a simple word. The term watershed development encompasses additional dimensions like equity, sustainability, gender and peoples participation. It has become a trusted tool for the overall development of the village and people living within a watershed area.

Watershed development refers to the conservation regeneration and the judicious use of all the resources – natural ( like land, water plants, animals) and human – within the watershed area. Watershed Management tries to bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural resources on the one side and man and animals on the other. Since it is the man which is primarily responsible for degradation of environment, regeneration and conservation can only be possible by promoting awakening and participation among the people who inhabit the watersheds


Why Watershed Development ?

Man and his environment are interdependent. The changes in the environment directly affect the lives of the people depending on it. A degraded environment means a degraded quality of life of the people. Environmental degradation can be tackled effectively through the holistic development of the watershed. A watershed provides a natural geo-hydrological unit for planning any developmental initiative.



  • To mitigate the adverse effects of drought on crops and livestock
  • To control desertification
  • To encourage restoration of ecological balance and
  • To promote economic development of village community.


Dharwad is predominantly a rural and agrarian District.. Agriculture plays a key role in District economy. Dharwad district has given an important place for Watershed Development, because, 75% of the croped area in Dharwad district depends upon low and uncertain rainfall. The District depends on dry land for more than half of its food production. In view of the above situation more emphasis is given for dry land farming in the district by way of developing dry land areas on watershed basis. All India soil and land use survey in its revised atlas in 1990 has identified 35 important river basins and 3237 Watersheds in the country. In Karnataka 5 rivers basins 218 Watersheds. In Dharwad district 2 rivers basins, 9 Watersheds (682 Micro Watersheds) have been identified for development.

The main objective of the watershed development programmes is to conserve soil and moisture as well as to put the lands to the best use according to their capabilities to improve the overall productivity of the catchment in a holistic manner/way. The programmes primarily consider land as a single entity and help in synchronizing all the land based activities to achieve productive potentials.

The process of watershed development involves co-ordinated multi-disciplinary activities and expertise from several Departments. To sustain the assets created under the programme, the participation of the people/community as well as Panchayat Raj institutions is also essential. In Karnataka, various bodies and Departments were implementing watershed development programmes which needed greater co-ordination in planning, implementation and supervision necessitating a concerted thrust on watershed approach/management.

The Govt. has therefore considered various aspects and decided that better co-ordination in planning, implementation and supervision in watershed programmes would be achieved by setting up a separate Department and hence the Government of Karnataka has created the Watershed Development Department with effect from 1.4.2000. All the watershed schemes and projects under State Sector, Central Sector Schemes, Externally aided Projects as well as District Sector Schemes relating to watershed development are expected to be implemented through this Department.

Dharwad District is one of the major agricultural District with more than 70% of the population depending on it. District agriculture is dependent on monsoon which is not uniform over the years. Nearly three fourths of the cultivable is dependent on monsoon, which is contributing nearly 42% of the total production from agriculture. The productivity of any crop mainly depends on two natural resources- land and water in addition to management practices. Therefore the conservation, up gradation and utilization of these two natural resources on scientific principles is essential for the sustainability of rain fed agriculture. The watershed concept for development of rain fed agriculture is gaining importance over the years and it amply demonstrated that watershed developmental tools are very effective in meeting the objectives and mission.

History of Department

Watershed in Karnataka Before Independence Which also refers to The District.

During 1923 the Royal Commission on Agriculture suggested the setting-up of research stations in Bijapur, Hagari and Raichur. Based on this, dry farming stations were established in Raichur, Hagri and Bijapur in Karnataka under the dry land farming following system were introduced:

Watershed in Karnataka After Independence

  • I Stage:
  • After Independence, Karnataka continued with the traditional techniques of soil conservation and water retention treatments with a host of programmes being implemented by the Agriculture Department.

  • II Stage:
  • In order to capitalize on the gains of the Kabbalanala Project in 1984, Government of Karnataka created four Dry Land Development Boards under four revenue Divisional Commissioners with a jurisdiction over 19 districts. Each district had a multidisciplinary team comprising of line departments. The main objectives were:

    1. Conserve basic resourses such as soil, rain water, and vegetation.
    2. Achieve higher biomass production both in arable and non-arable areas
    3. Impart stability to crop yields through proper rainwater management, crop patterns and land use.
    4. Enhance the income of individuals through adoption of alternative enterprises.
    5. To restore and sustain ecological balance.
  • III Stage:
  • The success of these watersheds encouraged GOI to follow the strategy of watersheds in principle and launched a massive NWDP in 7th five year plan extended to 693 watersheds located in 99 districts of the country with a total outlay of Rs. 239 crores in 15 states, including Karnataka.

    This project was re named has NWDPRA during 8th five year plan and was operated in 85 watersheds in Karnataka ranging from 5000 to 10000 hectares.

Scope of the Department

In the backdrop of growing population in the distict with consequent demand for ever increasing food, it was strongly felt for bringing large tracts of rainfed -dryland under Watershed Development Programmes to increase the productivity of land. In this process, modern technology is used for conservation of soil and water and increasing the productivity of soil by way of checking soil erosion.

The Department has multi-disciplinary technical experts drawn from Agriculture, Horticulture and Forest Departments who are pooling their experience, expertise and technology in the Watershed Programmes in dry land areas being financed by External, Central, State and District sector schemes.

Area developed


The Watershed Development Department is headed by the Joint Director of Agriculture who is designated as District Watershed Development Officer (DWDO). And there are various Technical and administrative team assisting him. And Each taluka is headed by an Agriculture Officer Who is called Taluka Watershed Development Officer (TWDO) and he is assisted by the 5-6 Assistant Agricultural Officer at the field level.

The Ogranisation chart is given bellow.

Basic Components of the Watershed Approach in Dharwad district


The watershed development approach, as implemented in Dharwad district, consists of following components

  • Human resource development (community development),
  • Soil and land management
  • Water management,
  • Afforestation,
  • Pasture/fodder development,
  • Livestock managment, rural energy management and
  • Farm and non-farm value addition activities

This system has led to overall development of the human resource and environment in the watershed.

SCHEMES : Watershed Development is carried through Various Shemes Operating in the District.

  1. National Watershed Development Programme In Rainfed Area
  2. River Valley Project (DPAP).
  3. Drought Prone Area Project (RVP).
  4. Western Ghat Development Programme (WGDP)
  5. Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).
    • Treatment Approach
    • Landless, Marginal and Small Farmers Provision has been made to support the above category population living in the watershed area by providing them with incentives under household production activities or loan from the revolving fund.

    • Livestock Management
    • Provision has been made for reducing the scrub bull population, upgrading the livestock with improve breeds, and development of pasture. Activities like animal health care are also included.

    • Production Activities
    • - Provision of crop demonstration in arable land, agro-forestry and horticulture development in arable as well as non arable land has been made. Other activities like kitchen / homestead gardening are also supported.

    • Soil & Water Conservation activities
    • Treatment of watersheds is done on a ridge to valley approach. Different soil and water conservation measures integrated with afforestation and horticulture are proposed based on the land capability, slope etc. Vegetative measures of conservation have been given due importance while treating the land.The normal pattern of watershed treatment is as follows –

    • Arable land
    • measures like contour vegetative hedges / contour bunding / gully control measures / land smoothening and other inter bund management and contour cultivation / cultivation across the slope.

    • Non-arable land
    • measures like contour trenches / diversion drains / gully control measures supported by vegetative measures

    • Upper Reaches
    • treatment like live checks, brushwood checks, loose boulder checks and small dugout ponds are taken up supported by afforestation.

    • Middle Reaches
    • earthen structures with vegetative support, loose boulder structures with vegetative support and run-off management dugout ponds are proposed. Further, agri-horticulture systems are advocated.

    • Lower Reaches
    • - dugout sunken ponds, nal bunds, check dams for run-off management are proposed. Using the stored water, horticulture, afforestation and fodder development activities are taken up

    • 1. Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).
    • Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) is a modified programme of erstwhile Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) of the Department of Land Resources. This consolidation is for optimum use of resources, sustainable outcomes and integrated planning. The scheme was launched during 2009-10. The programme is being implemented as per Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects 2008. The main objectives of the IWMP are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water. The outcomes are prevention of soil erosion, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.

    The salient features of IWMP are as below:

    1. Setting up of Dedicated Institutions with multi-disciplinary experts at State level - State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA), District level - Watershed Cell cum Data Centre (WCDC), Project level - Project Implementing Agency (PIA) and Village level - Watershed Committee (WC).
    2. Cluster Approach in selection and preparation of projects: Average size of project - about 5,000 ha.
    3. Enhanced Cost Norms from Rs. 6000 per ha. to Rs.12,000/ha. in plains; Rs.15,000/ ha in difficult/hilly areas
    4. Uniform Funding pattern of 90:10 between Centre & States.
    5. Release of central assistance in three installments (20%, 50% & 30%) instead of five installments.
    6. Flexibility in the project period i.e. 4 to 7 years
    7. Scientific planning of the projects by using IT, remote sensing techniques, GIS facilities for planning and monitoring & evaluation
    8. Earmarking of project funds for DPR preparation (1%), Entry point activities (4%), Capacity building (5%), Monitoring (1%) and Evaluation (1%). NRM (60%), Administration -10% .
    9. Introduction of new livelihood component with earmarking of project fund under Watershed Projects i.e. 7% of project fund for livelihoods for assetless people and 8% for production system & micro-enterprises
    10. Delegation of power of sanction of projects to States

    In Dharwad district there are IWMP (Batch-1), IWMP (Batch-2), IWMP (Batch-3) & IWMP (Batch-4) Programmes Projects are approved by SLNA, and Now IWMP (Batch-1), IWMP (Batch-2), IWMP (Batch-3) are ongoing. IWMP (Batch-4) Programme Projects is Just approved. Details as below Batch Project name Taluk Year of Starting Area to be Treated(Ha.) Project amount(in Lakhs)
1 I IWMP-1 Dharwad 2009-10 3699.00 443.88
2 IWMP-2 Kalaghatgi 2009-10 2070.00 608.40
3 IWMP-3 Kundgol 2009-10 4380.00 525.60
4 IWMP-4 Navalgund 2009-10 1476.00 177.12
5 II IWMP-5 Kalaghatgi 2010-11 2500.00 300.00
6 IWMP-6 Dharwad 2010-11 2367.00 284.04
7 IWMP-7 Hubli 2010-11 2929.00 351.48
8 IWMP-8 Kundgol 2010-11 2939.00 352.68
9 IWMP-9 Navalgund 2010-11 3156.00 378.72
10 III IWMP-10 Dharwad 2011-12 6363.00 763.56
11 IWMP-11 Kalaghatgi 2011-12 4108.00 493.02
12 IWMP-12 Kundagol 2011-12 5073.00 608.75
13 IWMP-13 Navalgund 2011-12 3022.00 362.69

Achievement of The Department in the District So far :

Since inception of the department , Various works are taken up to So as to conserve soil and moisture, and to recharge the ground water which is depleting alarmingly. The works carried out are so far added to the underground recharge which was clearly indicated in the Geology department datas.

So far The department constructed bunds in -250000 ha. And 653 check dams, 8822 Farm Ponds, 45 Nala bunds, 365 RRS/SDS, Desilting of Tanks, These all works approximately contributed to the 292393 TCM storage of water and enhancing the ground water.

And Under Forestry sector yearly about 300-400 ha. Of Forest plantations are undertaken. And 100- 150 ha. Of Horticulture block Plantations are carried out. Which not only increased the greenery and also helps in maintaining the ecological balance?

And under animal husbandry every year Animal health camps are taken up in Watershed Villages to maintain the health of the animals in the villages.

For landless persons Income Generating activities are taken up under various schemes, SHG groups are formed and are given training, and finally revolving funds are released to undertake the income generating activities, so as to increase the income.

Detail of officers Working in Various faculty in the District.
Sl.No Name of Officers Designation Office Phone No. Mobile Number
1 S. B. Biradar District Watershed Development Officer,Dharwad (0836) 2435552 9448149583
2 S. N. Pujar Assistant Director of Agriculture (WDD) Dharwad (0836) 2435552 9448867555
3 C.G. Hiremath Assistant Conservator of forest (WDD) Dharwad (0836) 2435552 9448631006
4 Raghunath R. Assistant Director of Horticuture (WDD) Dharwad (0836) 2435552 9448036611
5 M.T. Maracharadder Technical Officer (0836) 2435552 9448591645
6 C. G. Metri Taluka Watershed Development Officer, Dharwad - 9448021692
7 F. S. Rayanagoudar Taluka Watershed Development Officer, Hubli - 9448831845
8 M.T. Maracharadder I/c Taluka Watershed Development Officer, Kalaghatagi - 9448591645
9 F. S. Rayanagoudar I/c Taluka Watershed Development Officer, Kundagol - 9448831845
10 S. H. Patil Taluka Watershed Development Officer, Navalagund - 9449634653

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