The East Indian plateau, covering three Indian states, has a population of more than 27 million people, three quarters of whom are rural. The plateau receives high rainfall, in excess of 1200mm a year, but 80 per cent of this falls in the monsoon months between June and September. Despite the high rainfall water shortages are a problem, with high runoff and little, if any, water harvesting practiced. Cropping intensity is low, with one crop only year, timed to maximise available water. By introducing watershed management, including water harvesting, and appropriate cropping and agronomic practices opportunities to improve livelihoods in one of India's poorest regions should flow.
This project provides a foundation for improved food security and increased cash income for some of the poorest farmers in India, through improved understanding of small watershed hydrology with respect to water harvesting, developing easy-to-use principles for design and implementation of water harvesting technology, evaluation of downstream hydrologic impacts, and developing crop options and farming systems that effectively use land and water resources.
October 2005 to June 2012