FERAL: Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning

Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning

Application of GIS for evaluation and design of watershed guidelines

TitleApplication of GIS for evaluation and design of watershed guidelines
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBhalla, RS, Pelkey, NW, Prasad, KVDevi

We analyse the suitability of Government of India’s 2003 and 2008 common guidelines for prioritising micro-watersheds for
restoration. These guidelines attempt to balance the need for improved hydraulic function with poverty alleviation and agricultural
productivity. To do so, they provide a set of sub-criteria for prioritising micro-watersheds for treatment. We ranked the
microwatersheds in the Kalivelli basin in South India based on these sub-criteria. We then compared the 2003 with the 2008
guidelines using GIS and spatial statistics. Visual inspection of the resulting digital maps and spatial autocorrelation analysis
showed that individual sub-criteria within a guideline were highly positively auto correlated. Spatial cross-correlations
using Mantels test between sub-criteria in the same guidelines produced negative results however. Very different watersheds
would have been selected for treatment using the 2003 vs. the 2008 guidelines. While this could have been evidence that the
2008 guidelines were an improvement over the 2003 guidelines, comparing the planning outcomes did not support this conclusion.
We conclude that criteria used to select micro-watersheds for hydrologic treatment should be re-formulated emphasizing efffcient
resource use and improved hydraulic function prior to social and economic concerns. Finally, we argue that a combined GIS
and spatial analysis approach is amenable to quickly evaluating watershed selection criteria as well as assessing post implementation

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