Nano Watershed for Land Development
Nano Watershed for Land Development

At present, watershed development schemes are being implemented in the country under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna (PMKSY) with the main objectives to conserve the continuously diminishing natural resources viz. land, water and vegetation to develop, maintain and safeguard the ecological balance of the area for future, while, simultaneously bringing socio-economic development of the area.


What is a Watershed?

It is a geo-hydrological unit draining at a common point by a system of streams. Depending upon the area and extent of hydrological unit watershed area has been classified as Region, Basin, Catchment, Sub-catchment, Watershed, Milli Watershed and Micro Watershed. The smallest unit for implementing the development work on watershed concept is Micro watershed in which treatment and development works are executed by village level watershed committees under the technical guidance of Project Coordinators. Depending upon the need of the community, an action plan is prepared in which various soil and water conservation works along with other works permissible in the guidelines are included and approval of the action plan is taken from Gram Sabha.


Why Nano Watershed?

MP Water and Land Management Institute, Bhopal is continuously imparting the training programmes on watershed development for many years. The Institute, as a third party, is also evaluating the IWMP Projects of the state. Based on the feedback of various training programmes and Group discussions conducted with village community, following important points have emerged out :

1. Most of the work in watershed development programmes are community focused and many times a large number of individual farmers are not benefitted by the work.

2. It has been observed that in watershed projects the focus area of works has been on construction of big structures like Stop dam, Check dam etc. and only very few farmers are being benefitted by them.

3. Because of construction of fewer big water storage/conservation structures, instead of in situ conservation of water on larger scale, less amount of runoff water percolates down to ground water and expected results on ground water recharge are not observed.

4. As the maintenance of water storage/conservation structures is entrusted to community, hence it is observed that the structures are not being maintained properly due to lack of sense of belongingness.

5. Expected results on environment conservation and protection are not observed due to watershed works confinement to certain pockets instead of large spread areas.


Nature of Nano Watershed Work Plan :

With the objective to extend the benefits of watershed concept and works to each and every farmer of Micro watershed, WALMI, Bhopal has developed "Nano Watershed approach" and it has been successfully implemented at the demonstration farm of the Institute.
Nano watershed is the smallest area of the land which is developed and treated on watershed basis. It can be as small or as big area so as to cover the whole land of a farmer on which various watershed development measures are taken for complete development. Thus in each micro watershed, nano watersheds will be demarcated taking farm boundaries of farmers as a criteria to distinguish two nano watersheds.
• Development model will be prepared for each nano watershed for the complete development of the land.
• Depending upon the capability of the land will be divided into various segments for land use planning.
• Depending upon the slope of land the whole area will have 3 regions. For 1 ha. area the distribution of land will be as follows :
a) Recharge Zone 30% area. b) Storage zone 30% area c) Utilization Zone 40% area



a) Recharge Zone :

In recharge zone various activities to conserve runoff for recharging ground water and/or diverting water to storage zone will be taken. These activities may include contour bunds, trenches, gully plug, Dense Forestation on Contours, Diversion drain etc.

b) Storage Zone :

In this zone runoff water of the 2/3rd area of the land will be stored in storage tanks/pond. This stored water will be utilized for irrigation purposes and income generation activities like Pisciculture, Poultry etc. Provisions will be made to refill the tank utilizing ground water in off seasons.

c) Utilization Zone :

The lowest portion of the land is demarcated for growing crops viz. Field Crops, Vegetables, Flowers and other high value crops. The water from the storage tank will be utilized for irrigation purpose with the aim to achieve the highest water use efficiency. All the plantation work is to be carried out against the slopes on contours to recharge ground water of the area. In order to obtain more income from this piece of land, activities like Bee-keeping, Mushroom Cultivation etc. will be promoted. Similarly preference will be given to methods of organic farming to improve the quality of produce and to increase water storage capacity of the soil. Expected Outcomes :

1. Small and marginal farmers with degraded and waste lands will be able to harness the benefits of Nano watershed development works resulting higher income generation for them from such lands.

2. Around 25 lakh hectare waste land of the state, which is not being cultivated at present, can be converted to fertile land by adopting Nano watershed concept and additional income can be obtained from such lands.

3. Ground water recharging by adopting Nano watershed technology will result in additional sources of irrigation by which irrigated area and crop production can be increased.

4. In Nano Watershed concept, a larger area is used for water storage and recharge purposes, by which large amount of water get the opportunity to percolate down to the ground water, thus increasing the base flow, which ultimately will result in river flow revival.

5. Irrigation facilities which are developed thorough Nano Watershed approach will help farmers to increase the production level of the crops, thus they will be benefitted economically. Scientific planning for land use will also improve the quality of lands.

6. Soil and water conservation measures adopted in the approach will reduce the loss of fertile soil by erosion and thus will conserve the nutrient elements. Indirectly the ultimate benefit will be in terms of increased crop production and higher income generation in the state.

7. In Nano Watershed approach model various elements viz. Forestry, Horticulture, Beekeeping, Fisheries, Mushroom cultivation etc. have been incorporated to benefit small and marginal farmers.

8. While making policy for the approach, provisions will be made to subsidise livelihood generation, micro irrigation activities etc.

9. Expected outcome from the whole concept and technology is around Rs. 5 lacs/ha. annually.

10. The concept of Nano watershed development is eco friendly, in which natural cycle of birds, animals and aquatic creatures is maintained.