Satellite data, by virtue of its capability to provide realistic spatial information on the natural attributes of the watershed, is used extensively in characterizing and prioritizing the watersheds. The different terrain attributes studied in watershed development are its geological, hydro-geological, soil, land cover/ land use related parameters. These in turn helps in estimation of soil-loss, runoff, etc., and planning of scientific conservation and development activities. Also used, in an integrated manner, is the socio-economic scenario of the watershed.
Remote sensing based Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) project, based on integration of various themes and collateral information, carried out in about 84 Mha in 175 Districts of the country has been successful in improving the ground water level, increasing the cropping intensity along with the net returns from the fields and finally conserving the land and water resources. Under National Watershed Development Programme for Rain fed Areas (NWDPRA), 122 watersheds throughout the country were monitored to assess the impact of various developmental programmes, which had been undertaken in those watersheds.
A project on monitoring and evaluation of 77 sub-watersheds (752 micro-watersheds) in 5 Districts (Kolar, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Dharwad & Haveri) under World Bank aided Sujala Watershed Development Programme (SWDP) was taken up on behalf of Watershed Development Department, Govt. of Karnataka. Specific usage of the technology has been in the areas of watershed prioritization, resources inventory, land and water resources action plan, monitoring of implementation, multi-temporal impact assessments, post project evaluations and run-off studies. Such kind of usage of the technology with judicious MIS of conventional technology has shown a phenomenal success in project implementation and ensuring that the poor farming community gets the best advantage of watershed development in their respective areas. The detailed impact assessment of the developmental activities carried out has indicated measurable impacts, such as crop yield (24% increase); crop diversity (2-4 crops to 4-9 crops); milk yield (increase by 3.4%) and house hold income. Sujala Project has been adjudged as the best in the ‘Innovative Use of Technology and e-Governance’ category and bagged the National Gold Award on February 12, 2009.