Workshop on watershed development shows ways to improve ground water level

In the midst of scorching summer and drought conditions, the Deputy Director of District Water Shed Development Agency, S.Kanagaraj, offers hope that Madurai district has 801 watersheds to cater to farmers’ needs. Speaking at a five-day workshop on “Application of GPS and GIS Techniques in watershed development’, he said, “ Watersheds help to preserve the moisture in situ. When the raindrop falls on a surface, it should remain there to make the land fertile. That is what watersheds do.”

Once the water is stored, it helps recharge the water-table in the region. Watershed project also involves works like de-silting, construction of check-dams, field bunds, and digging deep ponds.

The five day workshop was aimed at introducing the concept of GIS, map concepts and geo-referencing, database creation, vector data creation, map layout designing and watershed analysis comprising elevation, slope, contour, flow direction , flow accumulation and basins generation.

The watershed development programme is a joint venture between the Centre and the State. The Centre contributes 90 per cent of the funds and the rest comes from the State. Watershed committees comprise a sociologist, an agronomist and an engineer while local people are involved in construction work.

In Madurai district, Sedapatti and Usilampatti have the highest number of watersheds and developmental activities have been completed in 92 watersheds. Integrated watershed management programme is implemented in villages located on the dry belt area but surrounded by hillocks with sloping areas.

“Only in these undulated watersheds, possibility of developmental work is more as soil erosion are sure to happen,” he said.

Sociologists, agronomists and engineers attended the workshop that helped the participants to understand codification system, basin delineation and sub-basin delineation.