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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Integrated Watershed Development (Plains) Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Integrated Watershed Development (Plains) Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 91.8  71.64
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 62.0  57.74
Sector, Major Sect.:
Natural Resources Management,
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0  0
L/C Number:
C2131; L3197      
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
03/31/1998 03/31/1999
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Christopher D. Gerrard
Ridley Nelson Gregory K. Ingram OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
[Note: The ICR Reviews and the PAR, for both the Hills and the Plains projects, have been done concurrently.]

The main objectives of the project were (1) to slow and reverse the ecological degradation in a variety of agro-ecological zones through the development and use of appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures; (2) to promote sustainable and replicable production systems on private, public, and common lands; and (3) to introduce effective arrangements for inter-agency coordination in watershed planning and implementation, and to ensure the full participation of the beneficiaries in all stages of the development.

b. Components
The project area comprised four selected watersheds in each of Gujarat, Orissa, and Rajasthan states. Each state government was responsible for implementing both primary (treatment) activities and secondary (support) activities. Primary activities included soil and water conservation, forestry, agriculture, horticulture, and livestock development. Support activities included project implementation, research and development, training, and monitoring and evaluation. The Government of India was to provide TA and training in relation to participatory planning and implementation, and to help establish geographic information systems (GIS) in each state.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
At appraisal, the Bank's support consisted of a US$ 55 million credit and US$ 7 million loan, which together represented 67.5% of projected costs. The Government of India and state governments were to contribute 26.3%, and the beneficiaries 6.2% of total costs. At completion, the project utilized none of the loan (which was canceled in December 1991), and US$ 57.74 million (or 95.7%) of the credit. The original closing date for the credit was extended by 12 months to March 31, 1999.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Implementation started slowly due to initial difficulties in establishing the watershed planning and implementation offices (WPIOs) in each state, in recruiting and posting staff, and in training staff with the necessary skills to initiate watershed treatments. Planning was largely top-down during the first three years. After the MTR, which was a crucial, soul-searching period for the project, three major changes enhanced the demand-responsiveness and local ownership of the project's investments: (1) a greater emphasis on participatory planning and implementation, not only in theory but also in practice; (2) a more deliberative approach to water resources management and water-harvesting in each watershed; and (3) a greater flexibility in modifying standard technical solutions in order to generate more immediate benefits for the beneficiaries. Project teams also started to work better across disciplines in the various project watersheds.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

(1) The project met, and even exceeded most targets in terms of the land area treated and the physical investments in engineering and vegetative technologies.
(2) Positive environmental impacts include more regulated discharge of water after the rains, groundwater recharge, reduction in soil loss, and rehabilitation of existing and construction of new village ponds and storage tanks.
(3) Income and consumption benefits include increased availability of water and increased output of agricultural, horticultural, and livestock products.
(4) Positive institutional impacts include enhanced cooperation among line departments of state governments, the formation of more than one thousand village development committees at the local level, and effective collaborative working relationships among the two groups.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

(1) Although all four states purchased computer hardware and GIS software, the Government of India failed to provide TA and training to establish fully functional GIS units in each state. Only Rajasthan made good progress in developing an operational GIS.
(2) While the four states effectively implemented the first two modules of the M&E system relating to progress reporting and assessing immediate results such as changes in land use patterns, they were less effective in assessing improvements in agricultural productivity, sustainability, and overall environmental impacts.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

(1) A watershed or sub-watershed is a very practical unit within which to plan and implement natural resource management projects in rainfed areas. Managing water -- the most basic natural resource in a watershed -- not only provides a practical framework for project implementation, but also a focus for the collective efforts of the village communities living in the watersheds.
(2) Ownership of the project by beneficiaries is essential for a successful outcome and for long-term sustainability. To achieve ownership, the project must pro-actively provide training in participatory methodologies for both project staff and beneficiaries.
(3) It is important for the services of different government departments (in this case, soil conservation, forestry, agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry) to be provided in an integrated way. For this to continue beyond the life of the project, this requires the development of new organizations (such as village development committees) and of permanent institutional arrangements among government departments, local governments, and the village development committees that create the incentives for this integration to continue.
(4) In order to receive the beneficiaries' support for long-term conservation objectives, it is also important for the beneficiaries to realize some short-term benefits from the project's interventions.
(5) During project implementation, it is very important to have feedback mechanisms, such as the midterm review, to effectively evaluate and reflect upon the progress of the project, and then to make the mid-course corrections that become necessary.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  The ICR Reviews and the performance audit report, for both the Plains and the Hills projects have been done concurrently.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR was well-documented, including the aide-memoire, borrower's contribution, and detailed financial analysis. The main report was very comprehensive, including an assessment of both primary (treatment) activities and secondary (support) activities.

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