ASSESSMENT OF WATERSHED RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT: A CASE OF DEVELOPING AN OPERATIONAL METHODOLOGY UNDER INDIAN CONDITIONS THROUGH GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGIES
The watershed based integrated approach is considered as a more efficient and appropriate approach for resource appraisal and implementation of various sustainable development measures. The present study intends to demonstrate the application of geospatial technologies in preparation of comprehensive as well as an operational framework under Indian conditions to evaluate land and water resources patterns through a case study of Andipatti watershed, located in Theni district in the State of Tamil Nadu (India). The study used widely acclaimed various empirical and quantitative models to characterise the watershed and to understand the spatial pattern of potential-utilisation levels of the watershed resources. The study used mostly remotely sensed data for understanding surface characteristics and location enabled in-situ data such as soil, rainfall and groundwater data for understanding the sub-surface characteristics of the study area. All these datasets were integrated in a GIS environment to asses soil productivity, soil erosion, surface runoff, groundwater potential, groundwater quality, crop-land suitability, groundwater suitability for agriculture, determination of potential-utilisation index and to draw land use planning strategies. Since the methodology developed in the study is mostly depends on remotely sensed data, only minimal efforts are required for any agencies to prepare a similar systematic sustainable agricultural development plan.