Soil and water conservation

Wadi plots are typically located in degraded and sloping lands, which are prone to heavy soil erosion after rainfall. Hence soil and water conservation (SWC) work needs to be usually done in each plot to:

  • preserve and enrich soil cover
  • reduce speed and impact of rainwater runoff
  • improve soil’s water-retaining ability and increase soil-moisture content
  • harvest rainwater

SWC works are essential for Wadi plot development SWC works are essential for Wadi plot development SWC is essential for ensuring profitable plantation and cultivation with low maintenance costs.

An SWC micro plan is done for each plot, with involvement of plot-holding families. Groups of plot-holders are given field-based `how to’ training and demonstrations. 

Manual labour involved in SWC work is done under supervision by Wadi plot-holding families, either individually or in groups. Hired labour or machinery is not used.

SWC works are best done in the first year itself, before or along with plantation. 

Depending on the terrain and condition of soil, different kinds of works are done:

  • In plots with sloping land, shallow trenches along contour lines (contour trenches) are dug, and bunds are constructed.
  • In hilly areas with high rainfall, tree platforms are built.
  • In gently sloping or plain lands, bunds are built.

 (See details in Types of SWC works).

In addition to any of the above measures, mulching is promoted to increase soil fertility and reduce impact of rain on soil.

All the above measures require annual maintenance, especially before the onset of monsoons. Well-maintained SWC can by itself dramatically improve productivity of soil and significantly reduce need for expensive water resource development.

See also:

Practical challenges in soil and water conservation (SWC)

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