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Project Title: GIS-based conservation planning of land resources (Spatial Decision Support System for rural Land Use Planning – SDSS/LUP)

Thematic Area: Agriculture / Rural Development

Location: Chikballapur and Gudibanda Blocks and Ramapatna Watershed in Kolar District, Karnataka

Objective: Development of an executive-level SDSS for rural land use planning 

Abstract: The established procedure for development planning in India remains a top-down, by way of schemes to address specific problems and opportunities. These schemes are mandated and financed by the state or central government and implemented by sectoral institutions in the district, the key level for decentralized planning.

The concept of Spatial Decision Support System for Land Use Planning (SDSS/LUP) is to draw together the natural resources and land use data of sectoral agencies (topography, satellite imagery, census reports and thematic maps), process them to computer-compatible format, and build up a district database. 

At the outset, a needs assessment was carried out amongst district-level staff to establish their requirements for spatial data. It proved difficult for them to articulate their needs but a number of specific requirements emerged from these discussions: Area (watershed/sub-watershed) selection for schemes for conservation planning by various line departments; Site selection for conservation and water resources infrastructure; Land evaluation for changes in land use (economic/conservation/radical options).

A vector-based prototype model, with ArcView GIS as the user-interface, was developed with two talukas (sub-district) and a rural watershed in Kolar District, Karnataka, India to test the concepts of SDSS/LUP. Although the prototype SDSS is specific to the test area, the methodology is designed to be applied to any area of India with local calibrations.

Preliminary results include prototype development on:

  • DSS on automated watershed characterization (drainage-network/stream-order; slope and watershed delineation);
  • DSS on generating various scenarios for selecting the priority watersheds/sub-watersheds: (a) degree to which watershed/sub-watershed satisfies the objectives of a particular scheme (based on physical and social indicators) – National Watershed Development Programme for Rained Agriculture (NWDPRA) scheme criteria (Table1, Figure1); (b) on-site effects – Morgan’s soil erosion model; (c) off-site/down-stream effect – All India Soil & Land Use Survey (AISLUS) Sediment Yield Index model; and (d) actual extent of degraded lands obtained from remotely-sensed data for rehabilitation;
  • DSS on suitable sites for percolation tanks in a watershed – Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) criteria.

Land evaluation for changes in land use is a more complex task, and at present the options are limited by the availability and scale of fundamental data. The problem of inadequate data is being handled in two ways: (1) Land use sustainability assessment (LUSA): To provide an immediate and useful service to decision makers, physical hazards have been identified. Then, indicators of these hazards for which information can be obtained have been sought. These indicators or limitations have been ranked in order of the ease of obtaining data. On the basis of the identification of hazards, district staff can design management packages to combat the threats to the sustainability of the desired land use, or recommend an alternative land use. A framework for LUSA has been developed, with additional rice and irrigation loops in the system. (2) Transfer functions and models: Transfer functions are being developed to derive the single attribute data from the complex data. As far as land evaluation is concerned, the module is not very sophisticated but robust and functions with the data that are actually available in every district in India. 

The SDSS/LUP decision-aid, presumably, is technically a tightly defined system that has internal consistency. 

Data Used:

  • Remotely sensed data
  • SOI topographical and other ancillary data

The decision-support service that can be provided as of now meets the needs specified during the needs assessment: A prototype DSS on selection of priority watersheds/sub-watersheds and site selection for percolation tanks; and framework on land use sustainability assessment. With a better database we can provide a better service to the rural land use managers.

Date of project completion: 31 January 2000

Total Cost of Project: Rs. 10, 42, 900/- 

Project Investigator:

Dr J. Adinarayana
Centre of Studies in Resources Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay
Powai, Mumbai – 400 076
Telephone: 022-2576 7689
Fax: 022-2572 3480
Email: adi[at]iitb[dot]ac[dot]in
Home page: http://www.csre.iitb.ac.in/adi/