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Introduction to the dynamics of watershed degradation
Here the students are expected to gain an understanding of watershed dynamics
Watersheds are very crucial as they provide water that meets the different water demand ranging from drinking, irrigation, industry, power generation among others. Water as the saying goes is life. "You can do without love but you cannot do without water" is a statement giving more emphasis on the significant of providing these important watershed resources. Watersheds also have other resources such as soils, forests among others. However, population growth and careless use of watershed resources has reduced their quality and sustainable use. Some people use resources in our watershed as if they are the last generation in those watersheds. They forget their children and grandchildren. They forget they are currently custodians of watershed resources for the future generations. Anyway degradation is a reality in our watersheds. Causes must be carefully evaluated. Solutions must be suggested. The time is now! Tomorrow may be too late. Many steps might not be made now to restore/rehabilitate our watersheds. But something must be done individually and collectively.
What is watershed?
A watershed can be defined as "the land area that drains into a stream. An area of land that contributes runoff to one specific delivery point; large watersheds may be composed of several smaller "subsheds", each of which contributes runoff to different locations that ultimately combine at a common delivery point.
Other definitions can be found at the following sites:
Why is watershed an important lens?
Provides framework to address competing demands and tradeoffs at ecological and socio-economic levels
“Failing to take a basin perspective when implementing water conservation strategies, not only runs the risk of not saving water, but can also have a negative impact on water quality, drinking water supply, groundwater balance and downstream human and ecological users” (Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture 2003).
Watershed degradation, what is it?
A marked deterioration in the hydrological behavior of a river system which reduces the potential of land and water by causing a water flow of inferior quality, quantity and timing.
Understanding the dynamics of watershed degradation
Many factors contribute to the dynamics of watersheds resulting into degradation. These factors can either be biophysical or socio-economic (human induced changes) in nature.
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