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Soil and water resource management strategies for sustainable land productivity in two watersheds of kangra district


Objectives: Taxonomic studies of the soils, ground and surface water mapping , Land capability assessment, evaluation of water management practices and finally development of land-use pattern & data management model.

Study Area: The studies were carried out in Neogal and Nakehr watersheds in district Kangra of Himachal Pradesh, situated on the southern escarpment of north-west Himalaya. The Neogal watershed spread over 400 km2 lies between 31050/33// to 32013/59// N latitude and 76020/19// to 76036/36// E longitude. The Nakehr watershed covering 150 km2 lies between 31050/15// to 31059/15// N latitude and 76011/30// to 76023/30// E longitude.

Experimental work: The survey of India toposheets and IRS imageries on 1:50,000 scale were used as base maps to generate thematic maps on physiography, relief, drainage, land use, soils, land capability and water resource of watersheds. The soils were mapped as soil series associations. For detailed survey, large scale maps on 1:15,000 scale were used as base maps. The detailed soil maps were prepared using phases and associations of soil series as mapping units. The soil depth formed the main soil series differentiae in each family. The field survey methods and interpretations are as per Field Survey Manual of National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land-Use Planning, Nagpur.

Research Achievements and Outputs : 

(1) The different thematic maps on 1:50,000 and 1:15,000 scale have been developed for representative two watersheds of Kangra for macro and micro level resource use planning in the area.

(2) Based on the gathered information, a theoretical water management model has been proposed for efficient water use in watersheds of the area.

Neogal watershed:

Present Land-Use: The areas under cultivated, forest and scrubs (including pastures/grasslands) lands were about 42, 12.5 and 39 percent, respectively as per reconnaissance survey. Their share was, however, 37, 41 and 20 percent as per detailed survey of Tahal khad sub-watershed. Paddy - wheat/potato and maize - wheat were the main cropping sequences. The tea plantations covered about 3% area in the watershed.

Soil Resource: The soils belonged to Inceptisols (Lithic/Typic Dystrochrepts), Entisols (Lithic/Typic Udorthents) and Alfisols (Typic Hapludalfs/Paleudalfs). A total of 17 soil series were identified at 1:50,000 scale. 

The detailed survey depicted the area of the sub-watershed belonging to 40 soil phases.

Ground and Surface Water Resource : About three-fourth of area is endowed with moderate to good ground water resource and could be exploited for irrigation water by installing motorized pumps and storing water in suitable tanks.The dense network of snowfed perennial streams offers great surface water potential. The water harvesting in poly-lined and pucca tanks should be popularized to gainfully utilize the runoff on hill slopes.

Land Capability and Irrigability : The cultivated lands generally belonged to II and III classes with erosion and soil as the main limitations. The non-cultivated lands belonged to class VI and VII with erosion as their main limitation. The predominant irrigability sub-classes were 2t and 6t, suggesting topography to be the main limitation of irrigation.

(Research Agency:HPKVV, Palampur)