Identification of Suitable Water Harvesting Zones Based on Geomorphic Resources for Drought Areas: A Case Study of Una District, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Bushra Zaman and DR. C. Prakasam Jr, Chitkara University, Haryana, India
Water is one of the most vital natural resource and its availability and quality determine ecosystem productivity, both for agricultural and natural systems. Una district is one of the major potential agricultural districts in Himachal Pradesh, India. More than 70% of the population of this district is engaged in agriculture and allied sectors and major crops grown are maize, wheat, rice, sugarcane, pulses and vegetables. The region faces drought every year and about 90 per cent of the area is water stressed. This has resulted in crop loss and shortage of food and fodder. The sources of drinking water, small ponds and bowlies dry-up during summer season resulting in scarcity of drinking water. Una district receives rainfall during monsoons from June to September and also during non-monsoon period (winter). The annual average rainfall in the area is about 1040 mm with 55 average rainy days. But due to heavy surface run-off the farmers not able to cultivate the crops more than once in a year. Past research indicate that the geomorphology of the Una district might be responsible for such droughts as it controls the surface as well as ground water resources. The research proposes to develop a water stress model for Una district using the geomorphic parameters, water resource and land use land cover data of the study area. Using Survey of India topographical maps (1:50000), the geomorphic parameters are extracted. The spatial layers of these parameters i.e. drainage density, slope, relative relief, ruggedness index, surface water body’s frequency are created in GIS. A time series of normalized remotely sensed data of the study area is used for land use land cover classification and analyses. Based on the results from the water stress model, the drought/water stress areas and water harvesting zones are identified and documented. The results of this research will help the general population in resolving the drinking water problem to a certain extent and also the cultivators to water the crops more than twice per year which might increase the crop yield in Una district.