Survey and planning work can be organized in many ways. Unless there exists already a watershed authority or board which is capable to do planning work, experience in developing countries has shown that one of the most effective methods is "joint planning and decentralized implementation". The key philosophy of this arrangement is to respect each agency's right, jurisdiction and responsibility. When each agency understands that it has an important and autonomous role to play, the work will be carried out more faithfully and efficiently. This arrangement is better than the "staff borrowing" or "piecemeal" approach.
The complex nature of watershed management calls for the participation of many agencies and groups but should not involve too many. Fig. 2 shows a hypothetical list of agencies for reference.
Responsibility for coordination of watershed planning activities should be delegated to a single body. Depending on the country, it can be a ministry (agriculture, natural resources, or planning), a high level authority or others. Creation of a joint committee, an inter-ministerial body or an ad hoc committee is another possibility.
In many countries, the ministry or national organization which is responsible for economic planning is designated to steer watershed planning. Designation of such a national planning organization for watershed planning facilitates coordination, ensures that watershed management is included under a national development umbrella, and helps early approval once the plan is completed. Possible disadvantages are: they may be overburdened with other planning activities; they often have limited expertise in watershed management; and they may appear authoritative and not use the same language as the field workers, thus discouraging full communication. Nevertheless, the national planning organization should normally be involved in watershed planning, whether or not it is the responsible agency.
In the developing countries, coordination is often proposed but rarely enacted due to a lack of qualified staff and resources in each agency. Therefore, not only should the coordinating agencies be well chosen, but the required duties and ways and means of coordination must be clearly spelled out in the early stages of planning. A time schedule should be agreed upon by all agencies concerned and a mechanism should be developed to check progress. Otherwise, the least efficient agencies will always control the progress of the entire project. Also, many agencies may lack funds to do extra work. If necessary, survey expense (travel, per diem, etc.) should be provided by either the responsible planning agency or the original promoting agency.
A HYPOTHETIC LIST OF AGENCIES INVOLVED IN WATERSHED SURVEY AND PLANNING
-For an Irrigation Reservoir Watershed with Agricultural and Forest Lands
|Ministry of Agriculture||Convener. with overall responsibilities|
|Forestry Department||Member, managing forest lands|
|Soil Conservation Division||Member, conservation work on agricultural lands|
|Irrigation Authority||Member, original promoter|
|Farmer's Association (incld. Irriga. Association)||Member, representing local communities|
|Member, farmer's education, extension, and training|
|Local Government||Member, rural development and infrastructure improvement|
|National Planning Agency||Member, coordination and economic assessment|
Under the chief responsible agency, a steering body involving representatives of coordinating agencies and local communities should be organized for each watershed survey and planning task. The steering body's main responsibilities are:
- to coordinate all matters concerning survey and planning;
- to determine the responsibility of each participating agency;
- to establish an effective coordination mechanism;
- to acquire the necessary funds and instruments and equipment for the survey;
- to set guidelines, criteria, specifications and time schedules for the survey and planning;
- to oversee and control the quality and progress of work;
- to compile reports and a final plan or proposal;
- to implement any follow-up work required by the government, including approaching funding agencies, supervising implementation and evaluation.
Under the steering body or committee, a number of field survey teams should be formed according to actual needs. For the agences involved in Fig. 2, the needed teams would be:
- a land use and soil conservation team;
- a forest and natural resources protection team;
- a hydrology and engineering team;
- a socio-economic and farm management team;
- an infrastructure improvement team (if needed).
A team can have members from different agencies but its leader should be drawn from an agency responsible for the survey subject. For instance, the leader of the soil conservation team should come from the soil conservation division, although team members may come from extension services, farmers' associations and others. Each team leader reports periodically the progress to the steering committee and also serves as a bridge between his mother agency and the committee.
A liaison unit or a liaison officer is sometimes needed under the steering committee to coordinate the work. This unit or officer should delegate the committee's authority. Even if the committee is terminated after the planning stage, this officer or unit can still remain to coordinate further implementation and evaluation work.
General guidelines should be set out at the beginning and should include, but not be limited to:
- guidelines related to policy matters;
- statements on main objectives;
- major watershed problems as identified by the preparatory investigation;
- possible management strategies;
- guiding principles in survey and planning including priorities, time schedule and procedures, etc.
The guidelines should be short and concise. They should be discussed fully during the first steering meeting so that no misunderstandings or misinterpretations arise at later stages. In addition, specific survey needs and a scheme (see Fig. 3 for a hypothetical example) should be worked out with detailed time schedule.
After the survey teams are organized, each of them should prepare a working outline explaining survey criteria, methodology and procedures. The outlines should be submitted to the steering committee for comment, discussion and approval. These outlines usually include the following items:
- sector objectives and terms of reference;
- composition of the team and coordination;
- methodology in brief;
- survey criteria including various survey forms;
-time schedule for field surveys, data analysis and reporting;
- survey tools and transport needs;
- estimates of required funds;
- team report format.
Timely completion of multi-disciplinary survey and planning is difficult if there is no firm control of time and progress. Therefore, after each survey team develops its work schedule, the steering committee should establish an overall timetable. It should allow for a reasonable time period to do a satisfactory job and ensure that all work will be completed by the final deadline. An overall schedule of survey and planning activities is shown in Fig. 4. A time frame can be added to each major activity for control purpose.
Work should be scheduled to avoid conflicts; for example, no team should be kept waiting for others during the course of the survey. Important dates such as completion of field work, data presentation, submission of preliminary results and reports should be throughly discussed and determined. To ensure effective control, the committee or the liaison unit should make routine checks; any problem which hampers progress should be brought up for immediate discussion and settlement.
Completion of a watershed plan in a short time period normally requires a concentration of efforts. Periodic reporting is very necessary. Regular meetings of the steering committee should be held at least once a month and special ones should be added when necessary. Periodic reporting from each team should be concise and to the point whether oral or written.
After the preliminary data have been gathered and analysed, the committee usually needs to compile an interim report to the authorities concerned to get first reaction or feedback before going further. Changes or revisions may be needed for final reporting.
The format of the final report and its contents should be decided as early as possible. Although they depend on data outcome and findings, the general format should not be determined at the last moment. While the details can be seen in Chapter 11, the following are some general rules:
- the main text should be as concise as possible. The report is mainly for administrative use and not for academic studies. An abstract or executive summary is often needed at the beginning of the report. Technical details and discussions of methodology, etc. are best put at the end or attached as appendices;
- the contents should be as practical as possible. Watershed problems should be analysed; objectives, goals, and work progress be clearly set; responsibility of each agency or sector be well defined; cost. and funding sources be identified; expected results, benefits and financial viabilities assessed; and strategies described;
- the whole report should be as illustrative as possible. Charts, simple diagrams and photos should be included to highlight important points.
Essential data for the watershed should be well kept or stored to permit monitoring and periodic evaluation in order to detect changes and management impact over time. This can be done by using microcomputers and proper software (see Appendix 3).