Screen Reader Access  | Skip to main content   | Skip to Navigation  | Text Size      | हिन्दी


Home | Feedback | Contact Us | Tenders


Watershed Management Directorate, State Government of Uttarakhand


For further informations click here

Sustainable Land, Water and Biodiversity Conservation and Management for Improved Livelihoods in Uttarakhand Watershed Sector.

GEF Agency : World Bank

Executing Partner : State Govt. of Uttarakhand, Watershed Management Directorate

Uttarakhand is a mountainous State in northern India known for its diverse eco-system, rich faunal and floral biodiversity, rivers, and valleys and a rich cultural heritage. A large part of the land in the State (90 percent) is hilly with fragile soils and steep slopes that are highly prone to soil erosion during the monsoon season. The state is losing fertile soil at a rate of up to 10 times the national average each year. This problem is further compounded by declining soil fertility due to high erosion and nutrient leaching through run-off. Land degradation is therefore a serious problem in Uttarakhand with up to 1.6 million hectares facing varying degrees of degradation.

The total population of the state is 8.48 million (census 2001) out of which most of the poor in the State live in the hills where 38.5 percent of the population is below the poverty line as compared to 26 percent of those living on the plains. A growing human population with a 19.3 percent increase in last decade, combined with an increasing livestock population has resulted in a growing demand for food, fuel-wood, and fodder for livestock. As population and livestock densities increase, the rate of degradation and the dependence on common property resources requiring collective management approaches, has also increased. Many parts of the State are experiencing drought-like conditions with acute drinking water shortages. Depletion in source discharges of nearly 30 percent is leading to non-functionality of drinking water schemes.

The rural population is highly dependent on forest resources for meeting its livelihood security with regard to fuel, fodder and timber. Fuel-wood consumption per capita varies from 2.8 kg per capita per day at higher altitudes (>2000 m) to 1.42 kg per capita per day at lower altitudes (1000-1500 m). This translates into almost 2 million tons of fuel-wood per year for the Uttarakhand Himalayas or about 1.0 million tons of carbon. In addition, the increased interaction of animals with humans entering the forests for collection of fuel-wood and fodder has resulted in rising incidences of man/animal conflicts. Although agriculture is one of the core economic activities for over 80 percent of the population, the role of forests in sustaining the agriculture and animal husbandry system is immense. According to an estimate, to generate one unit of energy from agriculture, 10-12 energy units of forest biomass are used. Such high levels of dependency on forests, combined with the depletion of their resources, implies that a continuous supply of environmental services from the forest will not be possible to conserve without enabling the poor people to have access to modern and efficient energy sources, and through other interventions that will reduce the pressure on forests and the environmental services they provide; the very future of forests and forest ecosystems are under threat.

The challenge is compounded by the fact that the resource management system in the mountains is characterized by small and fragmented holdings that, to about 80 percent are managed by women. These holdings lack modern technological inputs for crop cultivation, storage and value addition. They also suffer from poor infrastructural facilities with regard to transport, and marketing. The pressure on bio-diversity resources is very high due to the population's high dependence on forest-based biomass for energy, fodder and other environmental services.

Project Objective
To restore and sustain ecosystem functions and biodiversity while simultaneously enhancing income and livelihood functions, and generating lessons learned in these respects that can be up-scaled and mainstreamed at state and national levels.

The Project
The GEF project is linked to the World Bank supported Uttarakhand Decentralized Watershed Development Project (UDWDP) that in turn draws on the positive experiences from the Integrated Watershed Development Hills-II project that was completed in 2005. The project focuses on protection of watersheds, along with community level capacity building and promotion of livelihoods. The project is spread over an area of around 238,000 ha, ranging from 700 m to 2000 m altitude in 76 selected micro watersheds in the middle Himalayas. About 451 Gram Panchayats (GP) identified in 18 blocks of 11 districts are participating in this project. A total population of 254,000, living in the project area will benefit from it.

The development objective of the UDWDP is to improve the productive potential of natural resources and increase incomes of rural households in selected watersheds in Uttarakhand using socially inclusive,
institutionally and environmentally sustainable approaches. A secondary objective is to support policy and institutional development in the state to harmonize watershed development projects and programs across the state in accordance with best practices. The project has three groups of activities: i) participatory watershed development and management, ii) enhancing livelihood opportunities and iii) institutional strengthening. Two main community institutions involved in project implementation are Van Panchayats (VP), responsible for management of village forest, including regulation of usufruct and revenue sharing arrangements of forest resources, and Gram Panchayats (GP), the local government authority at village level with an executive body elected by the villagers and with responsibility for administration, management and development of village resources.

The GEF supported project will have the following activities:

Watershed planning through community participation. 20 out of a total of 76 Micro Watersheds (MWS) included in the UDWDP supported project will be included.
Controlling land degradation through the SLEM approach at watershed level. This will include activities like construction of soil erosion bunds, vegetative barriers and agro-forestry and, with a focus on non- arable, communal and government lands such initiatives as forest regeneration, pasture and silvi- pasture development.
Reduce pressure and dependence on the natural resource base through fostering markets for Non-timber Forest Products (NTFP)
Enhance biodiversity conservation and management through watershed planning and community participation
Improve adaptation to climate change in natural resource based production systems
Documentation of best (worst) practices to disseminate within the state as well as nation-wide through the SLEM Country Partnership Program
Project Management, Monitoring and Capacity Building

Facebook Twitter Youtube Flickr