Located in the Papagni river basin, the districts of Chittoor and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh are located in the trijunction of the Deccan Plateau, the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats. Changing land use patterns in the recent past have resulted in the loss of vegetative cover and over-exploitation of groundwater, putting under stress the viability of the rain fed farming-animal husbandry linked livelihoods. With the area facing drought conditions more frequently, the degradation of the natural resources further compounds the existing crisis.
In such drought-prone rain-fed areas, the integrated watershed development approach finds value in strengthening livelihoods and ecological health, and is a means of ensuring holistic development by addressing the micro drivers of change in a comprehensive manner. These micro drivers of change (soil and nutrient properties, biomass availability, water availability, land use, social and institutional capability, technological adoption, patterns of demand and supply, natural resource usage, economic status and energy availability) influence and are in turn influenced by the varied livelihood strategies (agriculture, livestock, production of other materials, labour and migration, biomass, energy, landscape and environmental management and agro-ecosystem function) prevalent in the rural landscapes.
This project involves watershed planning over a few thousand hectares of land in the rain-fed areas of Madanapalle district, which include both off-farm and on-farm interventions to improve the productivity of farm lands as well as the commons. Enhanced biomass and water availability through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures, and revegetation of common lands would go a long way in boosting agricultural productivity and animal husbandry. Further, this project aims to assist communities in effectively integrating agriculture and natural resource management, and regulating the demand for biomass and water through rules, regulations and mechanisms evolved by community institutions at village and inter-village levels. Efforts of the FES team are directed towards building and strengthening the institutional processes at the habitation, village, Panchayat and federation levels to set in place processes of local self governance. Special focus is on enhancing the participation of community members, especially the poor and marginalised, in the planning and implementation of watershed development work in the region.
Government of Andhra Pradesh