Application of GIS and Remote Sensing for Watershed development project – A...

Application of GIS and Remote Sensing for Watershed development project – A case study

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G S Chattopadhyay
G S Chattopadhyay
Technical Advisor, PAN Network Pvt. Ltd.
512 B, Jodhpur Park, Kolkata-700 068
Ph: 033 2414 8821
Email: [email protected]

Sujit Choudhury
Sujit Choudhury
Mr.Sujit Choudhury, Director, PAN Network Pvt. Ltd.
512 B, Jodhpur Park, Kolkata-700 068
Ph: 033 2414 8821
Email: [email protected]

Abstract
The watershed profile divides the terrain into unequal segments with diverse terrain characteristics, varied endowment of nature and distinctly different susceptibility to the natural environmental constraints viz. flood, water logging, riverine erosion, drought and soil erosion. The livelihoods of the local population mainly rural largely depend on these natural resources as well as constraints. Development of the watershed/s needs better understanding about the various natural resources their relations with each other and their relations with livelihood of the stakeholders. In large number of cases the failure of watershed development is largely due to maladjustments with diverse facets of nature, caused by lack of awareness of the natural resources amongst various watershed partners. Geo-scientific studies of the terrain, socio-economic appraisal of the stake holders and knowledge about local practices aimed at providing well coordinated and synthesized information on the overall watershed area are the need of the hour for the watershed development. This will also help to mitigate the natural as well as man-made hazards.

The use of Remote Sensing Data for faster assessment of natural resources such as soil, geology, drainage etc. as well as assessment of economic activities through land use and infrastructure of the watershed area is well known. This is also used for monitoring of watershed development at later years. GIS is a very powerful tool for development of the watershed area with all natural and socio-economic facets for better planning, execution and monitoring of the project. It gives a clear perspective for analysis at various levels to different partners of the watersheds. In this case the sustainable improvement of agriculture and related enterprises would be the first challenge for the enhancement of the livelihood of local people, second challenge comes from better utilization of the vegetative covers in terms of forest coverage or horticultural vegetations in the vast agriculturally no-remunerative areas for livelihood promotion. The indigenous rocks and minerals resources can only sustain small-scale enterprises. Proper emphasis on the utilization of the surface run off through better measures suitable for the target region is needed at the planning stage to all partners of watershed. A GIS based model of the terrain with all relevant spatial data related to natural resources, infrastructure and administrative boundaries attached with relevant attribute data will enable the planners, stake holders and funding agencies to develop the watershed keeping in mind to fulfill the stake holders need in the backdrop of natural resources potential as well as limitations. This will also help to plan the infrastructural development needed such as connecting market with local produce. Geo-technical appraisal of all the surface water irrigation projects necessary to avoid unfavorable natural conditions will be easier to develop through participatory method. This model provides a holistic picture to enable to share the natural resources and protect them for the betterment of the watershed community.