Survey and planning is a continuous process. Data collected from surveys are for planning purposes while planning can not proceed without sufficient supply of survey data. Therefore, to separate survey and planning is impractical. Especially in developing countries watershed surveys are not carried out for academic study. Rather, they are for management purposes. Fig. 4 at the end of Chapter 3 shows survey and planning as a series of continuous activities. A dotted line dividing "survey and data analysis" and "planning, monitoring and follow-up" is only for the convenience of discussion.
While survey approaches and techniques have been dealt with in the previous chapters, this chapter will discuse planning approaches and basics using various survey results. Economic assessment, alternative considerations, plan formulation, monitoring and evaluation will be explained in the following chapters.
Planning, by definition, is to "devise detailed methods for doing, arranging and making something". For different things different approaches should be adopted. For instance, planning an engineering structure such as a bridge is very different from planning a watershed complex. Some useful approaches employed in watershed planning are explained as follows:
Many watershed projects have failed because farmers and local communities were not involved in the planning process. Watersheds in developing countries are heavily populated by farmers. Therefore, any watershed plan will not be successfully carried out without their support or participation.
Several ways can be employed to involve farmers in the planning process. For instance, existing farmers' organizations can be included in the survey and planning body. Local watershed committees can be organized for planning and implementation purposes. Conducting individual farm planning or group farm planning with the farmers will obtain details on how farmers will use, develop and protect their farms. Involving villagers and communities for planning community forests, pasture, roads, and other infrastructural needs are also scopes of the bottom-up approach. During such planning processes government policy and farmers' needs can be fully discussed. For watershed plans to be useful and workable, they should be well understood and accepted at grass-root level.
Planning is an iterative approach. Before a final plan is prepared, many studies, assessments, alternative considerations and revisions will have to be made. Generally, a preliminary or interim report should be made by gathering the results and reports of each team (see examples given in Fig. 3). After receiving comments from all the related sources, a review and revision period begins. The process may need to be repeated several times to find the best results.
A final watershed plan is not like a blueprint of a bridge. A watershed plan should be considered as a starting point and should be kept under constant monitoring and adjustment. There are many reasons. First, project life may cover 10 years or so and many unpredictable things, caused by nature or man made, may happen during the period. New problems need new policies and techniques to cope with them. Second, watershed management is a complex task dealing with social, economical, cultural, legal, institutional, and physical problems of a watershed. Difficulties may arise during implementation and many times the original strategies and goals need to be revised. Therefore, learning by doing is a very important process hence any such plan should be kept flexible.
Flexibility means leaving rooms for future adjustment, modification, or revision. Consequently, a monitoring and evaluation process should be built into the plan for this purpose. This also means that the planned targets should be progressive, i.e. smaller at the very beginning and gradually expanding with the added experience.
For many watersheds in developing countries, planning for proper land use and soil conservation needs is a most important task. Land use planning is the process of evaluating land and use patterns, together with other physical, social and economic considerations for selecting or suggesting the best alternative uses. Land use planning can be carried out at many levels. For our purpose, two levels may be sufficient. One is to plan the watershed as a whole including all kinds of land and ownership. The other is planning at farm or community level. Since planning conservation needs should be based on present land use and land capability or suitability data, the results of these surveys should be taken into consideration as the basic data.
At the watershed level, the major concern of watershed managers or planners is whether the land is properly used. Over-use of land usually causes soil erosion and land degradation while under-use may cause waste and social problems in many developing countries. Therefore, the sites, areas, degrees of misuse together with ownerships should first be found out. As illustrated in Fig. 6 and in Example 7, such information can be obtained by superimposing the present land use map and the land capability map. Whatever the capability criteria are, the main principle is that land should be used according to the capability. Any use beyond its capability should be prohibited or discouraged. Use below its capability, though allowable from a conservation viewpoint, is an economical loss subject to further adjustment.
Experience shows both over-use and under-use may exist in the same watersheds in developing countries. These phenomena may need to be corrected. After a land use adjustment map (see Example 7) and its statistics are produced, planning should be initiated by stratifying land ownership, degrees of improper use, and adjustment priorities. The general procedures are explained as follows:
- Seriously over-used lands should receive first priority of adjustment or protection. On private lands, further individual farm planning with the farmers should be carried out to study a mutual strategy to alleviate the problem. If new policy and/or incentives are needed, suggestions should be made in the plan. On public lands, this problem should be brought to the agency concerned for devising practical solutions. These may include resettlement or reallocation on under-used lands in the same watershed.
- Over-used lands should be adjusted or protected accordingly. After planned with individual land users, a time table should be worked out. - Under-used lands can be planned in two ways. If they are publicly owned, these lands can be used for settling those farmers who are now over-using their lands. Under-used private lands should be planned for better use according to farmer's interests and existing policies.
- Lands which are used within or according to the capability can usually be divided into two sub-categories. One category still requires soil conservation treatments and another does not. For instance, existing paddies, terraced lands and forest do not need any treatment. But many slopes classified as cultivable lands and under improper cultivation will still need major conservation treatments in order to minimize erosion hazards.
Another major consideration for the planners is what types of land use or crops are best suited for the watershed. This may be based on land suitability and involve studies of present crop patterns, farming systems, government policy, agro-climatic conditions, marketing, agro-industry, and investment opportunities, etc. Any existing or proposed plans for crop development, crop zoning, agro-industry, forest or pasture development by either public or private sector in the watershed should be well analyzed and considered in the plan. A land suitability map and related information (see 7.1) may provide a sound base for such work.
Government may introduce and induce proper land use and cropping systems, but it is the farmer who makes the final decision. Therefore, planning at the farm and community levels are necessary.
Farm planning is a joint venture between government and farmers to draw up plans on how their farms are properly used and protected. Government technicians, equipped with knowledge of land use and soil conservation and guided by policy, give advice to individual farmer while the final decisions of the plan should be made by farmer according to his or her interest, resources and ability. The plan thus obtained will be much more realistic than the top-down type of plan. A farm plan usually shows each parcel in the farm its physical feature (soils, slope, capability), use conditions (present and proposed), major conservation treatment (existing, proposed), time schedule for development and protection together with costs and benefits, etc. To draw such a plan for individual farms needs considerable time. The watershed managers or planners should be aware of the numbers of farmers in the watershed and the time needed for such planning. If they feel that time and resources do not allow for such planning at the project planning stage, alternatives should be sought. The alternative may include the following:
- Group planning, through farmers' groups and organizations.
- Classifying all the farms in a watershed into several models. Carefully plan for each model and using the results for estimating land use figures, cropping trends and soil conservation needs of the whole watershed.
-- Using the information obtained from the watershed level (explained in the previous section) make a preliminary plan leaving room for future refining at the implementation stage.
In all cases, information on individual farms is needed in the implementing stage. Planners should therefore make it clear when these individual farm plans or group plans Twill be required.
Likewise, plans for the use and conservation of community lands in a watershed are needed. These may include community pastures, village forest, and recreation areas. The community concerned and the land users should be involved in planning future use of these lands including improvement, development and conservation needs.
In addition to conservation of cultivated lands, specific plans are usually required for protection and rehabilitation of various kinds of lands in a watershed. While actual needs are depending on watershed conditions, the following planning work may normally be required:
- Forest protection and rehabilitation. For forest protection, planning work may include provisions for fire lookout towers, firebreaks, fire suppression crews and equipment, warning systems, education meetings, and forest patrol needs, etc. The need for protection forest in upstream areas and agroforestry for cultivated slopes require careful planning. For watershed rehabilitation, a reforestation plan including goals, schedule, species, techniques, nurseries, and roads, etc. is usually required.
- Pasture improvement and protection. Such a plan is usually needed for public pastures and range lands including the work of reseeding, fencing, rotational grazing, control of the number of animals, supply of water and sheds, etc.
- Gully control, stream protection and landslide rehabilitation. These may include using both vegetative and structural means. Check dams, submerged dams, spur dikes, riprapping, diversions, channel clearing or reshaping, reseeding, establishing stream buffer strips are some of the rehabilitation work needed.
- Road erosion control. This is a very important work in watersheds of developing countries. The plan should aim at the protection of existing roads: their surfaces, ditches and cut and fill slopes including rehabilitation of land slips and road foundations. The required work may consist of hydroseeding, retaining walls, wattling and staking, cross drains and culverts and their proper maintenance.
- Other protection and rehabilitation work. Such as mining control, mined area rehabilitation, pollution control, stabilization of housing sites on slopes as required.
In many watershed projects, several components of rural development are normally required. Depending again on the actual needs of a watershed, the development plans may include the following:
- Irrigation and water harvesting. Even in the humid tropics, there exists a pronounced dry season for several months. No crops can be grown during that period. Minor irrigation and water harvesting for the provision of supplementary water at the beginning of the dry season will help farmers to grow one more crop, thereby increasing their income. In some watersheds, domestic water has to be supplied or supplemented by water collection devices. The planning work generally consists of studying rainfall and crop patterns, analyzing water requirements, identifying source areas, proposing water delivery, storage and distribution systems.
- Road development and improvement. This kind of work is always needed although the road authorities should bear chief responsibility for it. Joint planning by road authorities and watershed people is necessary. Planning for new roads should include carefully consideration of their necessity, sites and future maintenance needs. Otherwise, improperly built and maintained roads may create more erosion hazards. Planning for road improvement should include all roads and trails in a watershed. The latter are usually neglected but they are used by farmers daily. Drainage, road regrading, surfacing, slope stabilization and better maintenance are some of the improvements to be carefully planned.
- Housing and building construction. Housing includes building new houses and improvement of existing ones. The former is usually associated with settlement or land allocation schemes and normally have set standards for planning and designing. However, watershed planners should help to select safe sites for housing and to review housing standards from both practical and economical points of view. Housing improvement may be needed extensively in many watersheds. Kitchens, toilets, and roofs may be the priority items for improvement. Other construction calling for planning are markets, schools, and clinics. As with housing, there may be competent authorities in charge of their respective development. Watershed planners and managers, however, need to assist with proper siting and site stabilization.
- Other development plans. Other development plans may be required such as establishing small power plant, cottage industry, agro-industry, etc. In each case competent authorities or experts should be consulted.