Overview – Watershed Management Division

Watershed Management Division was established in 2009. Earlier, the watershed management was looked after by the Watershed Management Section (created in 2002) within the Social Forestry Division of the Department of Forestry. However, over the years, the Social Forestry moved in to the mainstream of forest policy implementation, but watershed management lagged behind. Part of the reason for this was related to the institutional difficulties associated with trying to implement a program that requires a multi-disciplinary approach to both planning and implementation. The concept of managing watersheds in a holistic manner means that multiple actors are involved, from private farmers through various government ministries, departments and agencies to corporate entities, all with their own agendas. Devising an approach of working with these multiple actors to achieve a whole-of-catchment outcome is inherently challenging.

To meet these challenges a Watershed Management Division was proposed for creation in the Department of Forests in January 2009. Following on this proposal, the Division was created by the Cabinet through an executive order in April, 2009. Besides the primary mandate in implementing watershed management program, it is also the focal point for environment, climate change, range land and wetlands. The Division’s functions and responsibilities fall within the purview of several environmental and natural resource policies and acts, and deemed as an integrative force across legislations and sectors.

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