A watershed is defined as any surface area from which runoff resulting from rainfall is collected and drained through a common point.
The main benefit of watershed management of hilly area are-
(1) Increase crop production and food security.
(2) Minimize degradation of natural resource base.
(3) Conserved soil, rainwater and vegetation effectively and harvest the surplus water to create water source in addition to groundwater recharge.
(4) Restore ecological balance.
(5) Improve livelihood of rural people in the watershed.
(6) Reduce soil degradation and increase farmers’ income through better water shed management.
(7) Prevent water flooding and water logging on the village and farm land due to heavy rain.
(8) Can get safety water and air supply for domestic and industrial use.
(9) Breaking wind velocity.
(10) Reduce sedimentation on farm land.
The method of watershed management are-
(1) Adequate vegetative covered during the rainy season.
(2) Utilize the land according to its capability.
(3) Optimizing productivity per unit area, per unit time, per unit water.
(4) Adopting integrated soil, water, nutrient and pest management options.
(5) Avoid gully formation and check at suitable intervals to control soil erosion and recharge underground water.
(6) Increasing cropping intensity and land equivalent ratio through intercropping and sequential cropping.
(7) Ensuring suitability of the ecosystem benefiting the man- animal- forest-land- water complex in the watershed.
(8) Safe utilization of marginal lands through alternative land used system.
(9) Conserving as much rainwater as possible at the place where it falls.
(10) Drainage out excess water with safe velocity and diverting it to storage ponds/ recharge pond for future use.
(11) Aware on unity of community.
(12) Stabilizing total income and cutting down risks during aberrant weather situation.
Reference: Wani,S.P., Pathak, P., and Rego, T.J.(eds)2002. A training manual on integrated management of watersheds. Patancheru 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Tropics. 44pp.