Watershed Development (WSD) programs in rain fed dry land agriculture in India have been introduced to ensure the sustainability of the surface and groundwater resources, and to improve the livelihoods of farmers. These programs have been applied at the micro-catchment or village level (up to 500 hectares).
While there has been some evaluation of these programs, the question remains on the level of return in relation to investment at meso-basin levels (around 5000 hectares). Water retention or groundwater pumping in one locality may negatively affect access to water or water management, generally at a larger scale, but this may be difficult to detect at a micro level. Similar issues occur in Australia, albeit at a different geographical scale, where changes in climate and a realisation that water may have been over-allocated have challenged researchers trying to gain positive economic, social and equity outcomes, particularly in irrigation areas.
This project aims to quantify the aggregated impact of watershed interventions on hydrology within and across watersheds at meso-scale, to develop and apply integrated models to assess cost effectiveness and water-related equity outcomes of stakeholder defined watershed development scenarios, and to integrate and (through partners) apply the knowledge arising from the project at local, state and national policy levels.