There is significantrelationship of human being along with all environmental resources. Water, soilas land, vegetation as forest and air these environmental resources playsignificant and irreplaceable role in human life. These resources determinedthe social welfare and the development of human being and ultimately it indicatethe development status of the region. Naturally water, land andvegetation resources are considerably connected and depended on each other.
Vegetation is depending on land and water resources. Good quality of land andavailability of water are favorable situation for development of sufficientvegetation cover and presence of vegetation cover prevents soil erosion as wellas helps for ground water recharge. Simultaneously, water depends on land andvegetation. Sufficient vegetation accompanying with good quality of soil absorbgood amount of rainwater and store it as well. It means up gradation ofenvironment taking place when vegetation, soil and water is maintaining in theproportional account. If the system gets disturbed it resulted intoenvironmental degradation. (sagar mali thesis) In now days, theuncontrolled extraction of natural resources, expansion of industrialactivities and growth of urbanization has reduced the water retention capacityof many watersheds.
It resulted in the sense of decreasing amount ofvegetation, land degradation, water scarcity and decreasing water quality.ENVIS Centre on Forestryhosted by Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun sponsored by Ministry ofEnvironment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India (GoI) analyzedchanging trends of forest cover in Indian states and Union Territories (UT)though 1987 to 2013. This report is concluded that forest covered 640819 km2areas in 1987 which is reached up to 697898 km2. Though thereis increasing trend in forest cover area it is not constant. It is continuouslyfluctuating. Though Maharashtra state recorded 45616 km2 areas outof geographical area in 1987 and it is increased up to 50632 km2 outof geographical area in 2013, shows continuous fluctuation. The forest area wasdecreasing from 1987 to 1995. In 1997 and 2007 it was increased but thefluctuations are still continued.
National Institution for Transforming India(NITI Aayog), Government of India and Forest Survey of India (FSI) both areremarked that, though the forest cover is going too increased it is not up tothe mark. Only 21.23 % area out of the geographical area for India and 16.
45 %area out of the geographical area for Maharashtra is covered by forests whereinbasic requirement is minimum 33%. According to National Bureauof Soil Survey and Land use planning (NBSS & LUP) report conducted in 2005stated about 146.82 million hectare area is reported to be suffering fromvarious kinds of land degradation in India. Out of which 13055 thousandhectares area (42.4% of geographical area) belongs from Maharashtra state. As per the directed by Bureau of Indian Standards, IS:1172-1993, aminimum water supply of 200 litres per capita per day (LPCD) should be provided fordomestic consumption in cities with full flushing systems. As per IS: 1172-1993directions it reduces up to 135 LPCD for the low income group (LIG) andeconomically weaker sections (EWS) in small cities (Government of India 1997,2002; Modi, 1998; Shaban and Sharma, 2007). The National Commission onUrbanization (NCU) (1988) suggested that 90-100 litres per day percapita water supply are needed to hygienic existence (Ramachandraiah 2001).
TheWorld Health Organization (WHO) organizes the supply and access to water infour service categories, i. e. no access (water availability below 5 LPCD);basic access (average approximately 20 LPCD); intermediate access (averageapproximately 50 LPCD); and optimal access (average of 100-200) (WHO 2003).According to review of these reports, water is substantial aspect for survival.Therefore sustainable development and management ofthese natural resources is the need of time. In this point of view sustainablemanagement programs are drafted by various administrative units. But planning, implementation, administration, management andevaluation of these development plans are having difficulties because anadministrative area is the combination of various physical, biological aspectsand economical diversities.
Hence planning, implementation and managementbecome very difficult. Therefore watershed approach is useful for conservationand development of natural resources. Watershedapproach to Conservation and Development of Natural Resources:Policymaker and planneralways raised the question, why a watershed should be considered as a naturalresource and development planning unit? In order to answer this question it isimportant to define the term ‘watershed’. Soil Conservation Society of America(SCSA) defined the term as, Watershed is a geo-hydrological unit comprised ofall land and water within the confines of a drainage divide. It is atopographically delineated area draining into a single channel and capturesrainfall and conveys the overland flow and runoff to an outlet in the main flowchannel. Watershed unit is characterizedby the same community and unique socio-economic practices. It deals with bothnotions i.e.
bio-physiography and socio-economy and comprising all naturalresources, people and their economic activities (Gopal B. Thapa). Thereforeintegrated watershed development method is become popular and implementable forwatershed development and in the sense of sustainable planning of naturalresources.