Rs. 4751 crore water conservation project targets to increase the productivity of crops like wheat, maize and rice to match with the world crop productivity

Shimla: Aiming to double the farmer’s income, the state government is planning to conserve rainwater and use it optimally in agriculture and its allied activities. The state government implementing this rainwater conservation project with an estimated cost of Rs 4,751.24 crore, and the State Government has already succeeded to get this project sanctioned from the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India in its 85th Screening Committee Meeting.

Giving details of the project, Irrigation & Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said 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 and Thunag of district Mandi, Bamson and Sujanpur area of Hamirpur and Ghumarwin of district Bilaspur with an estimated cost of Rs. 708.87 crore.

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 hectare 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, trenches, bench terracing and loose boulder structure each work will be done in 25000 hectare of land, gabion structure, dugout ponds, silt retention structure, check dams, sub surface dyke, recharge shaft and percolation tanks will be constructed besides development of irrigation 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 already visible in the state. The State had conducted a detailed vulnerability 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.

The primary objective of the project is 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.

Himachal Pradesh is predominantly hilly state with steep slopes due to which the rain water goes unexploited and waste. This ambitious rainwater conservation project, if implemented in true spirit, will strengthen 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.