Case studies of people's participation in watershed management in Asia (GCP/RAS/161/NET)

Table of Contents

PWMTA-WMTUH-FARM Field Document No. 4

Case Studies of People's Participation in Watershed Management in Asia

Part I: Nepal, China and India

Edited by

Prem N. Sharma and Mohan P. Wagley

Kathmandu, Nepal, January, 1996

UNDP/FAO/Netherlands, RAS/93/063 - GCP/RAS/161/NET

Watershed Management in Tropics and Upper Himalayas (WMTUH)/Farmer centred Agriculture Resource Management (FARM) Program Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA)


The Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) Program (GCP/RAS/161/NET, FAO/Netherlands) is designed for human resource development in participatory watershed management. It will contribute to sustainable use and management of forest, soil, water and other natural resources by enhancing skills and national capabilities to plan, implement, evaluate and monitor participatory watershed rehabilitation programs. This will be achieved by regional training. workshops, seminars and national and regional watershed management networking. The PWMTA is closely linked and complimentary to the FARM program.

Many of the Asian countries are seriously investing in WM today. However, few are providing training in holistic approach to participatory watershed management. PWMTA is to assist the member countries in filling this gap.


(ASIAN WATershed MAnagement NETwork)

This is a regional network for people's participation in watershed management founded in Nov. 1994 by the national coordinators of the RAS/93/063, WMTUH/FARM program. It is now sponsored by the PWMTA, GCP/RAS/161/NET program of the FAO/Netherlands along with the RAS/93/062, FARM program of the UNDP/FAO into which the RAS/93/063 has merged. Its member countries are the participating countries in the FARM program and the PWMTA program. The network is to facilitate: farmers' organizations for watershed management at small watershed, village, district and national level, exchange of experiences at farmers, extensionists, as well as technical, professional. educator and policy maker level, exchange of information among the member countries, and strengthen a movement of GO/NGO/PO/FOs for sustainable natural resources management of the fragile watersheds in the Asian region: It also publishes a quarterly ASIAN WATMANET newsletter.

The designations employed and the presentation of the materials in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the FAO (UN), UNDP or the Netherlands concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitations of its frontiers or boundaries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not imply any opinion what so ever in the part of the FAO (UN), UNDP or the Netherlands.

First Edition: January, 1996
Second Edition: July, 1996
Third Edition: July, 1997

Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) Program, GCP/RAS/161/NET - RAS/93/062, FAO (UN), P.O. Box 25, Kathmandu, Nepal

Office address:
Dept. of Soil Conservation, Babarmahal, MFSC/HMG, Kathmandu, Nepal

For copies write to:
Dr. Prem N. Sharma, FAO (UN), P.O. Box 25, Kathmandu, Nepal


Front cover photo: Community forestry in the BTRT watershed area, Nepal case study by Mr. Rabin Bogati, Department of Soil Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Back cover photo: PRA in FARM demonstration watershed at Khanigaon village, Nuwakot, Nepal, by Mr. I. B. Malla, District Soil Conservation Officer, Rasuwa, Nepal.

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software and careful manual recorrection. Even if the quality of digitalisation is high, the FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.

Table of Contents


Local terms


A case study of people's participation in Begnastal and Rupatal (BTRT) watershed management in Nepal


Study site selection
Objectives of the study


Overview of the study area

Land use
Socio-economic conditions

The concepts and mechanisms of people's participation

No participation model
Information sharing model
Political participation model
Users' participation model
Individual participation model

Review of people's participation in watershed management in the western development region


Result and discussions

Evolution of participation

First stage (1974-80)
Second stage (1981-85)
Third stage (1986-90)
Fourth stage (1991-94)

Activities of the Begnastal Rupatal watershed management project

First phase (1985-89)
Second phase (1990-94)

Consequences of the BTRT project

Involvement of women, occupational castes and other minority groups
Management of forests
Management of private and community lands

Influences of the BTRT project on people's participation

Community development and organization
Community development board
Local club

Result of people's participation in the BTRT area

Changes and improvements in land use
Economic benefits
Changes in land productivity
Users' involvement in watershed management
Access to credit
Innovations by neighbouring farmers

Problems and constraints

Conclusions and recommendations

Policy recommendations

Unit of watershed management
Users and their organizations
Gender equality
Indigenous technology
Watershed resource assessment
Development of local capabilities
Sharing information and coordinating activities

Other recommendations



A case study of successful watershed management in Wuhua County, Guangdong Province, China


Purpose of the study
Justification for study site selection

Description of Wuhua County

Environmental and socio-economic conditions


Soil and water erosion

Types of soil erosion
Some important features of soil erosion

Relations between vegetation and soil erosion

Soil types susceptible to erosion

Environmental damage

Mechanisms of people's participation

Family contract system
Collective or group contract system
Sub-Lease contract system
Professional contract system
Specialized contract system

Soil and water conservation strategy

Strategic decisions of the provincial government
Strategies for implementing comprehensive management of small watersheds
Watershed management planning

The principles of planning


Vegetative measures
Engineering measures

Administration for people's participation and research support

Research support

The case of benefits from land leasing contractual arrangements for people's participation in WUPI watershed

The Wupi small watershed

Some features of soil erosion in Wupi watershed

Comprehensive erosion control measures at Wupi watershed

A brief history
Soil erosion control measures
Reduction in fuel-wood shortage

Contractual arrangements for people's participation

Water control measures
Measures to improve farmland

Benefits of soil conservation

Ecological benefits
Social benefits

Results of improved land use management in Wuhua county

Economic benefits


A successful case of participatory watershed management at Ralegan Siddhi Village in district Ahmadnagar, Maharastra, India*

An overview of people's participation in natural resource management in India

Breakdown of traditional sustainable systems
Participation of resource poor farmers
Prejudice against women

Recent prominent initiatives of people's participation in resource management

Naxalite movement
Chipko movement
Save Narmada movement (Andolan)
Bodh Gaya Andolan
Ganga liberation (Mukti) Andolan
AVARD'S irrigation schemes
Water council (Pani Panchayat)
Rope makers of saharanpur
Chakriya Vikas pranali (the cyclic system of development)
MYRADA's self-help groups
Rural labor association of Halpati Sava Sangh
Ralegan Siddhi
Self-Help groups by Taj Mahal gram Bikas Kendra
Mahila Vikas Sangh (women development federation)
Self employed women's association

The case of people's participation in watershed management in Ralegan Siddhi


The physical setting
Demographic features
Socio-economic structure
Base-line situation

Approaches/methods used for people's participation

Gandhian approach
Creation of a common platform
Moral cleansing
Selfless leadership
Identification of the most pressing common problem
Initiating the process of change at individual level
Socialization of costs and surpluses
Democratic decision making process
Social reform with strict discipline
Need-based planned socio-economic development
Cooperative management system
Special focus on women
Facilitating village organizations

Reflections on the experience and insights gained
Lessons, achievements, weaknesses and constraints

Achievements at Ralegan Siddhi