Socio-economic impact of watershed management in balakot district Mansehra, Pakistan
Kiramat Shah, Waqar Ahmed
Watershed management plays an important role in supplying water; especially in arid areas. It has the potential to increase agriculture production, reduce soil erosion and siltation in dams and improve livelihood. The current study investigated socio-economic impact of watershed management in five selected villages of tehsil Balakot, District Mansehra, Pakistan. A sample size of 107 respondents was randomly selected in the study area and questionnaires were used to explore the best suitable techniques from past watershed management activities, and its effect on the rural community on soil and water. Results showed that high proportion of 41% respondent were illiterate, 68.2% were farmer by profession, 71.9% were poor with below average monthly income. Moreover 56% of respondents were depending on government forests for their timber need. Regarding watershed management activities had been done by the Forest Department, 85% respondents reported that the effect of watershed management activities on soil and water were positive and income of 89% respondents has been increased these activities. Most of the people were engaged in agriculture fields and feeding their livestock which they sell into the market and get a very low income. They also depend on forests for feeding their livestock and fuel wood, by which they degrade forest land as well. Most of the people of the study area gave a positive response to the Government and Non-Governmental organization projects and they also participated in these projects as well. The study suggests that preparation of future integrated watershed management plan should include strong socio-economic inputs regarding community education, awareness, of employment opportunities and basic necessities.