The Government of India and the World Bank on 11 February 2013 signed a 60 million US dollars credit agreement for the Karnataka Watershed Development Project II (KWDP II) to further improve watershed planning and management in project areas. The Project will improve government watershed operations in 930 micro-watersheds covering 465000 ha across 7 districts of Karnataka.
This project builds on the successful experience of earlier Bank-supported Karnataka Watershed Development Project I, also known as Sujala, which helped improve the lives of 230000 farmers by increasing crop yields by about 25 percent, and raising household incomes of small and marginal farmers by 40 percent.
KWDP II will focus on improving the performance and results of IWMP by introducing new tools and approaches for integrated watershed planning, incorporating more information about water resources into the planning process, facilitating better convergence of IWMP with other government programs such as NREGS, and helping farmers increase agricultural productivity. The project will cover about 465000 ha and 160000 farmer households in 7 districts.
Consequently, a primary focus of the project is on supporting the implementation of IWMP in the 7-selected districts of Karnataka through better planning, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and post-harvest value addition. Focus will also be on understanding local needs, like location‐specific soil‐crop‐water interactions; expanding the scope of rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge, by partly converging the NREGS with the IWMP and developing agro‐climatic zone specific technology to enable rural communities to better adapt to the effects of climate change.
Among the other components of the project, horticulture is expected to play a major role in raising income of farmers even in dry tracks. The Project will support activities for promoting dry land production for annual and perennial crops; crop diversification; help farmers in carrying out soil, water and leaf analysis to identify nutrient deficiencies; create facilities for testing, training and demonstrations; facilitate farmers in availing quality seed and planting material; and support farmers to improve post-harvest handling and marketing of the produce among others.
Karnataka’s dry regions are among the states’ poorest, have low agricultural productivity, and are susceptible to drought and deepening environmental stress and degradation. The project area has 39400 landless families. Annual normal rainfall varies from 600 to 800 mm with 43 rainy days in a year. Rain fed agriculture in 278000 ha of project area, experiences at least two water deficit years in a five year cycle due to prolonged dry spells during crop season and/or delayed onset of monsoon rains.The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years. The Closing Date of the Project is 31 December 2018.
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