Experiences of Watershed development for growth

The goal of watershed development should be the sustainable productivity enhancement and, consequently, increased livelihood options and support. Sustaining the benefits of the program beyond the project period therefore has to be a crucial concern. Two key requirements are needed for this: (a) Development of sustainable livelihoods on the basis of the augmentation of the natural resource base through the watershed program; and (b) development of people’s institutions that would provide leadership, voice interests of the area and ensure transparency, accountability and performance of state institutions.

There is a need to move from water and soil conservation measures alone to land, water and livestock management that includes production processes and that is linked to livelihood development opportunities for specific target groups. The watershed program provides a unique opportunity to institutionalize the concept of collective marketing since development efforts are carried over a concentrated area, the community is organized and common funds available as part of the project intervention.
The group CE-WLP felt the need to move beyond conservation and towards growth-oriented development in a watershed program that has implications for post-project period sustainability. Even though conservation of soil and water is an important objective, it was felt that it is also important to focus on improving the productivity of the conserved resources and broaden up the scope of livelihood strategies to cope with uncertainties and associated risks.

Related lessons learnt