Watershed management information systems
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The watershed is the natural planning unit in modelling and monitoring of the effect of watershed management policies. To ensure optimum and sustained productivity through scientific planning, the watershed needs a decision-making information system which involves an appraisal of agroecological characteristics, resource limitations and potential of the watershed for resource development. This complete information helps in generating an information system for watershed management a Watershed Management Information System (WATMIS). This paper describes an approach to develop a WATMIS for a river basin in the difficult semi-arid mountainous terrain of the Indian Peninsular region. The methodology includes compilation of various watershed resource data (maps, space and ground-based systems); development of Geographic Information System-based models for soil erosion evaluation; and formulation of a treatment-oriented land-use planning scheme with multidisciplinary knowledge-based rules. A priority sub-watershed delineation survey carried out in the watershed indicates significant variation in sediment yield index values. This calls for conservation planning in cases of high and very high priority sub-watersheds. This systems approach, which is hopefully fast and cost-effective, without individual bias, is related to the optimization of natural resources while minimizing the impact on the watershed environment. This paper envisages some future studies for watershed management strategies.
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