Parliamentary report on Watershed Management

Prelims level : Mains level : Paper III different types of irrigation and irrigation storage system
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Why in News?

  • Parliamentary Standing committee has submitted a report Highlighting the delays in implementing watershed development projects under PMKSY.
  • It has been noted that Lethargic response from the government and lock of implementation to be the cause.

What is Watershed Development and why it is important?

  • It is a area of land that feeds all the water running under it and draining off it into a body of water.
  • Example:

    The Place we live is a watershed which drains all the water to nearby lake/rivers. And in turn combining all such rivers and lakes which ultimately drains into the sea forms a watershed.

  • Watershed management or development refers to management and conservation of surf ace and ground water resources, which includes conservation, regeneration and Judicious use of all resources.
  • Example:

    Even afforestation and reforestation is an measure to protect watersheds building check dams, percolation dams etc.


  • It recharges groundwater table.
  • Restores water for drinking and other human proposes
  • Protects bio-diversity of a region, it managed properly can restore biodiversity
  • Restores soil Fertility and helps in soil conservation
  • Helps fight climate change, and promotes sustainable agriculture.

Why Delay in Implementation?

  • The Project works on an convergence basis which relies on synergy between difference ministries and agencies like Ministry of water resource and management, Ministry of Agriculture etc.
  • Since the Government departments works individually, device steps are not taken.
  • The Benefits are not sustainable for longer period for example after the water able is restored the farmer’s opt for water intensive crops like Sugarcane which results in depletion.
  • Till 2016 the founding pattern was 90:10 with central government taking former value and state government letter. Presently the ration is changed to 60:40 moreover projects takes 3 to 8 Years for completion and requires even more time to show visible results.
  • Detailed Project Report for 1,774 projects had not been prepared. It also noted lack of quality in preparation of Detailed Project Report, such as not taking into account challenges of a geographical location, and ways to overcome them.

Way Ahead:

  • Expeditions efforts should be made to complete the project. 53% net sown area in our country is rainfed, and watershed component of PMKSY, According to its guidelines, should complete within 47 hrs. but between 2009-15 out of 8,214 Projects not even single project has reached closure.
  • Budgetary allocation should be commensurate to the requirement of the project sanctioned.
  • Better co-ordination with the states and rollback to old funding model of 90:10 can help.
  • Credible government agencies with substantial expertise should be involved in preparation of project report taking into account different Challenges.
  • Third party evaluation for evaluation for implementation and supervising the work will give better insight about the work.
  • Expediting the selection of third Party will expedite the implementation.

About PMKSY:

  • Objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani).
  • Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).
  • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system
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