Participatory microcatchment management in Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed, Indonesia

Project title: Development of micro catchment participatory management in the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed (Phase II) [Project ID: 2020P1-INA]
Supervisory Agency: Extension and Human Resources Development Agency, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia (BP2SDM)
Executing Agency: Watershed Management Technology Center (WMTC)
Budget in USD (total/APFNet grant): 245,324/99,820
Duration: 9/2020 – 8/2022 (24 months)
Project Category: Demonstration Project
Target economy: Indonesia
Status: Completed
Goal: The project aims to establish participatory watershed management at a micro catchment scale by applying soil and water conservation principles.  
Objectives: To develop participatory management of micro catchment based on community participation and stakeholder collaboration, considering soil and water conservation principles. This model could be used as an example of successful watershed management in another micro catchment afterwards; The activities of this phase aim to improve existing plans from Phase I and extend the impact area.
Outputs: Detailed participatory land management plan for the demonstration plots; Demonstration plots of conservation farming and watershed rehabilitation; Enhancement of farmers’ skills and income through on-farm and off-farm activities; Information on the impacts of the demonstration plots of conservation farming and watershed rehabilitation; Recommendation and policy brief of the best agroforestry model
 ♦   Focus Group Discussions (FGD) among stakeholders
 ♦    Determine the site of demonstration plots and apply vegetative and technical soil conservation measures
 ♦   Training in apiculture, coffee and avocado cultivation and processing and agricultural waste management
 ♦   Collection of water, sedimentation, erosion and economic and social data
 ♦   Meetings to discuss the outcomes and formulate a policy brief 
Figure 1. Project map of demonstration plots and gully structures established during both project phases (2015-2022) 
Project background
Many environmental problems in Indonesia are related to unsuccessful watershed management, such as floods, droughts, landslides and sedimentation. Especially sedimentation has become a concern for the Multipurpose Reservoir of Gajah Mungkur (MRGM) at Wonogiri Regency, Central Java Province, which is of economy-level relevance due to its strategic function for flood control of the Upper Solo watershed, for power generation as well as for supplying irrigation water for agriculture. Among the 18 rivers that go into the MRGM, the Keduang River is the river with the largest watershed area and also the largest sediment load. This high sedimentation rate results from soil erosion which is related to insufficient land cover. Based on the 2011 Landsat 7 ETM satellite images, forest cover in the area was only 2.25%, while a high population density leads to pressure on land resources.
The APFNet project “Development of Participatory Management of Micro Catchment at The Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed (Phase II)” is located in the Naruan Micro Catchment (Fig.1), which is the upstream part of Keduang Watershed. The area of the Micro Catchment belongs to two different Regencies – Wonogiri and Karanganyar Regency – and is divided into three villages: Bubakan, Wonorejo and Wonokeling. The project is a follow-up of Phase I in the same Micro Catchment which developed the first participatory management plan for the area and the experts from the Watershed Management Technology Center (WMTC). In Phase II, the WMTC continues and expands the establishment of agroforestry plots as well as the implementation of vegetative and civil engineering techniques for soil and water protection, while including all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process. Furthermore, to enable local communities to improve their farming practices and gain some additional skills for income generation, training in apiculture, coffee and avocado cultivation and processing was offered to residents of the three respective villages.

Project featured topics
Demonstration of vegetative and physical soil conservation measures
For implementing soil conservation farming practices, the combination of trees with seasonal and perennial crops was promoted in the villages. After consulting with the 115 farmers participating in the demonstration plots across three villages (i.e. a total of about 50 ha), a participatory planting layout design was developed focusing on multi-purpose tree species such as avocado, coffee and lemon with only some trees like Albizia and Limpaga. The multi-purpose trees have the advantage of contributing to long-term erosion control as they are not being cut during harvest while generating a yearly income for farmers. In parallel, the project team established non-participatory control plots (approx. 3 ha in total), planting the types and composition of plants that showed the best performance in Phase I – namely a higher proportion of Albizia or Limpaga trees with some coffee and avocado plants in between (Fig.2).
Fig.2: Agroforestry with Albizia trees
In addition, over 20 different gully erosion control structures were built, such as bamboo plugs, gabion head structures and small check dams using “spesi" (a cement-stone material) at existing rehabilitation sites in the micro catchment management plan (Fig.3).

Fig. 3: Types of gully control construction materials
The impacts of vegetative measures and physical erosion control structures were measured by regularly monitoring hydrological data and estimating the erosion risk.
Strengthening livelihoods through capacity building
The development of apiculture, training in producing higher value-added agricultural products (coffee & avocado cultivation) and treating household and agriculture waste aims to enhance farmers’ skills and additional income sources. All training was conducted in all three villages. In line with the planning, the beekeeping training was attended by 30 farmers each time, whereas the other three pieces of training on coffee cultivation and processing, avocado cultivation and grafting and agricultural waste processing were attended by 15 people in each village (Fig. 4).
Fig.4: Training on avocado cultivation and grafting
Project outcomes
The demonstration plots were successfully established in the three villages of the micro watershed. Farmers and other stakeholders participated in the FGD and decisions on the participatory planting design. Timber-based plants require a long-term commitment to maintaining them for at least 4-5 years which can hopefully be achieved through stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process. However, the project team concluded that the choice of multi-purpose tree species such as avocados is a better choice for long-term erosion control as harvesting does not cause a period of bare soil. Several trees which were planted in 2018 during the first phase already bear fruits or could be harvested (Fig.5).
Fig.5 : Left: An avocado tree planted in early 2018 is already bearing fruit; Right: Harvest of Albizia trees planted in 2018
The evaluation of hydrological data from 2017-2022 has not shown any significant impact of the measures (vegetative measures and gully erosion control structures) on sedimentation loads or runoff. It was concluded, that the project site is still too small in proportion to the total area of the micro watershed. However, besides the positive impact on the local community and environment, the establishment of a micro watershed management model was formulated in a policy brief and disseminated in the form of sever scientific publications, to improve the management of economy-level micro catchment in Indonesia. The policy brief might contribute to the improvement of the Regulation of the Director General of RLPS Number: P.15/V-Set/2009 concerning Guidelines for the Development of Micro Watershed Models by prioritizing balance and sustainability of economic, social, and environmental aspects.

 Project documents
Project Proposal    Completion Report    Technical Report

 News and related information
Boosting local livelihoods through participatory watershed management in Indonesia 2021 report  
APFNet - Highlighted commitments in the watershed and wetland management
Supporting better watershed management in Indonesia 
Feature stories from the project for promotion

Boosting local livelihoods through participatory watershed management in Indonesia 2021 report