GUWAHATI, June 15 � With a view to scientifically manage the land and water resources in the hilly areas of the city using ecological management practices, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) will undertake a project on �Integrated Land-use Planning and Water Resources Management� at Garbhanga watershed located at the upstream of the Games Village here.
�Degradation of this watershed has led to problems like soil erosion and drainage congestion, water-logging, landslide, water pollution and flooding of the adjacent areas, which include the strategically important NH 37. It is affecting the environment of the city as a whole,� said a GMDA official.
He added, �As the hilly urban watersheds of the North East are highly vulnerable to degradation, this pilot project will prove to be a significant guideline for the development of urban watersheds in the region. It will cater as a model for any such projects involving integrated land-use planning and water resource management through ecological management practices (EMP) in future.�
The implementation of the project will be in stages including development of roads and drains, protection of landslides and erosion by proposed EMPs, development of water harvesting points, along with the silt traps and other drainage structures, afforestation and plantation of valuable trees, plantation of fruit-bearing trees, medicinal plants, vegetables and herbs within the boundary of the stake holders. The detailed project report (DRP) for the project was prepared by city-based civil engineering firm SRISHTIE.
The Civil Engineering Department of IIT Guwahati carried out research towards development of the urban hilly areas in a scientific way based on the Union Ministry of Urban Development�s Centre of Excellence�s Integrated Land-use Planning and Water Resource Management (ILPWRM) scheme.
�The Centre came up with several measures to manage the land and water resources in hilly areas of Guwahati, using ecological management practices, and to apply the concept to the real field the Centre prepared a conceptual DPR for providing guidelines for implementation of a pilot project to demonstrate the scope of managing hilly watershed through EMPs application in an effective and efficient manner.
The State government formed an implementation committee for this concept and the implementation committee decided to prepare a DPR and gave the responsibility to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), following which SRISHTIE was given the task of preparing the report.
�The study was initially sponsored by MoUD and a technical core committee examined and gave inputs to the project. The core committee has decided the area of Garbhanga watershed located at the upstream of the Games Village for this pilot project,� the official said.
He added, �The pilot project implementation committee has decided that this project will be funded and implemented by GMDA. The prime objective of it is the implementation and scientific development of urban hilly areas.�
Ten watersheds across the city were studied before the final selection of the Garbhanga was made. The total area of the watershed is 18.50 hectare, of which undisturbed forest area is 5.91 hectare, occupied forest area is 8.82 hectare and revenue area occupied by people is 3.77 hectare.
The location was selected due to certain criteria including presence of both habituated and undisturbed areas, which provide scope for studying EMP application, its proximity to the NH 37, it being a mixed terrain of both hills and plains enabling experimentation in both hill slope hydrology and hydrology of plains.
�Besides, the watershed is in the vicinity of the Basistha river that flows to the Deepor Beel, a major wetland of the city, and, therefore, a convenient site for research and analysis of the effects of EMPs on water and its sediment yield,� the official said.