Watershed development programmes mainly aim to generate such activities, which would have in-situ conservation of as much precipitation as possible in soil profile and collection, storage and reuse of harvested water. The positive impact of the watershed programme in the Elanad watershed in Thrissur district of Kerala is reflected in increase in the number of beneficiaries adopting the soil conservation measures like contour bunding, construction of earthen bunds, terracing, and mulching. The water-harvesting techniques like rain pitting, digging and renovation of wells have been instrumental in raising the depth of water table in the watershed area. There has been a significant rise in the levels of water resources of the beneficiaries, indicating a positive impact on the moisture regime and groundwater recharge. The increase in crop productivity as a result of various factors like increased human labour-use, rise in manure application and increased moisture availability have been translated into higher farm income in nominal as well as real terms. The non-availability of irrigation water, untimely availability of inputs and subsidy on time, inadequacy of sanctioned amount, lack of awareness about the beneficial programme, lack of supervision and follow-up, and lack of technical guidance have been identified as the major constraints. To sum-up, the watershed-based development programme has resulted in increased crop production, productivity, employment generation, farm income and groundwater status, leading to overall rural prosperity in the area.


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