Rainfed red soils of Karnataka (India): resource development on watershed basis.
Watershed development programmes involve soil conservation, cropland development, afforestation, pasture-land improvement, and dryland horticulture. Soil and water conservation practices, such as strengthening and realigning the existing bunds, land smoothing, contour tillage, desilting of the existing waterways or developing fresh waterways on the boundary lines were acceptable to farmers. Stabilization of drop structures with grasses like kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) or establishing vegetative barriers with grasses like Vetiveria zizanioides and Pennisetum hohenackeria for soil conservation were acceptable only to progressive farmers. Water harvesting in dugout farm ponds and against gully embankments showed a great promise in improving crop yields. However, it needs capital investment. Several new crops and systems like pigeon peas and groundnut intercropping were adopted by the farmers on a large scale. Agroforestry planting of silver oak [Grevillea robusta] and Casuarina on the bunds has shown great promise and wide-scale adaptability in Chokkanahalli watershed. Among the constraints and deficiencies in effective implementation of the watershed development programmes were the absence of inbuilt monitoring and concurrent evaluation systems, inadequate involvement of local people right from the beginning of the project, and lack of arrangements to take care of the developed assets once the project activities are completed. The success of watershed development programmes depends largely on deploying highly motivated officials for the work and providing necessary financial support on time.