Himachal Pradesh is predominantly hilly state with steep slopes due to which the rain water goes unexploited and waste. In view of this a need was felt to conserve a good quantity of rain water for its optimum use in irrigation and allied activities. The State Government contemplated a visionary concept note on 11.5.2018 on water conservation project in Himachal Pradesh for an estimated cost of Rs. 4751.24 crore with the aim to double the farmer's income.
Giving details of the project, Irrigation & Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that the project shall be implemented in whole state, however, in phase-I, it was proposed to be implemented in the selected water stressed areas of Dharampur, Ladbhadol & Thunag of district Mandi, Bamson and Sujanpur area of Hamirpur and Ghumarwin of district Bilaspur with an estimated cost of Rs. 708.87 crore. The State Government succeeded to get this project sanctioned on 17th July, 2018 from the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI in its 85th Screening Committee Meeting.
Project focuses on major sources of growth operating within agriculture sector. An area of 2.691 lakh hectare has been provided with irrigation facilities upto the end of July, 2017 and still 65885 hecrate of land is without irrigation facilities. Therefore, one of the primary objectives of the project is to develop the irrigation system promoting water use efficiency.
Under the project contour/bunding, trenches, bench terracing and loose boulder structure each work will be done in 25000 hactare of land, gabion structure, dugout ponds, silt retention structure, check dams, sub surface dyke, recharge shaft and percolation tanks will be contructed besides development of iirgation system promoting water use efficiency and integrated farming with crop diversification will be done with 377.25 crore.
The project targets to increase the productivity of major crops like wheat, maize and rice in implementation areas to match with the world crop productivity.
In addition, the impacts of climate change in various sectors especially on water resources are aleady visible in the state. The State had conducted a detailed vulnerablity analysis through external agency under Green Climate Fund and the proposed project will address this issue by means of harvesting the rain water increasing availability of surface and ground water for efficient use of agriculture and horticulture.
I&PH Minister while giving details the objectives of the project said that primary objective was to double the farmers income by 2022-23 through water conservation and to enhance the climate change adaptability. Key objectives of this project include to restore of bio-physical environment of the state through proper delineation of hyro-geological boundaries and investing in rain water structures to reduce run off recharge the ground water and improve soil health to maximise water productivity. To promote integrated farming with crop diversification for long term sustainability of the community and eco-system and to strengthen the resilience of rural communities and supporing the water user assocations in restoration of productive assets by undetaing crop diversification. Integrated farming, conservation and rejuvenation measures with soil conservation and rain water harvesting capabilities, promoting co management of water resources, forest and agriculture for long term sustainability.
While talking on the project outcomes, the Minister said that it envisaged on strengthening adaptive capacity of about 2.5 million small and marginal farmers in the Himalayan ecosystem spread over five basins of the state who would have reduced exposure to climate change risks and water scarcity after implementation of the project.