Improved Livelihoods and Water Productivity through Integrated Watershed Management – A Case Study from China
ICRISAT in partnership with Guizhou Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS), and Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS) implemented two benchmark watersheds namely Lucheba Watershed at Guizhou and Xiaoxincun watershed in Yunnan provinces for the ADBICRISAT project on “Improving Management of Natural Resources with Sustainable Rainfed Agriculture” during 2003-2006. Both the watersheds in China had vast untapped potential for enhancing agricultural productivity, however due to low adoption of improved management practices and lack of knowledge to the farmers, the yields till 2002 were low and natural resources like soil and water were prone to severe degradation. Through participatory management, the consortium embarked on implementing integrated watershed management program (IWMP) through improved rainwater management and harvesting, improved soil, crop and pest management options as well as income-generating microenterprises for the community members. The Lucheba benchmark watershed with 1284 mm amount of rainfall annually undertook two drinking water schemes for the villagers as an entry point activity by bringing spring water from hills by pipe to the village. Construction of 151 rainwater harvesting structures cum irrigation water storage tanks, plantation of 133,600 trees on 100 ha wasteland, construction of approach road and crop diversification with high-value vegetable crops in the watershed were undertaken by the community through IWMP. As a result, the family income in Lucheba watershed increased to US$ 2582 in 2007 against the baseline of US$ 973 per annum in 2002. In both the watersheds, empowerment of women was evident with improved livelihoods and incomes which they could spend. The IWMP interventions resulted in enhancing rainwater use efficiency along with the net incomes in Xiaoxincun watershed also. The vegetable growers association and the farmers groups in both the watersheds effectively implemented the watershed activities and successfully protected the natural resources by reducing the erosion using the biogas production from the pig excreta, avoiding cutting the trees for cooking, controlling soil erosion, enhancing water use efficiency and diversifying the crops and livelihood options.