Project lists

34.Development Participatory Management of Micro Catchment at the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed
21 Mar 2022     

Project title: Development of participatory management of microcatchment in the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed [Project ID 2017P6-INA]
Supervisory agency: Extension and Human Resources Development Agency, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia
Executing agency: Watershed Management Technology Center, Indonesia
Budget in USD (total/APFNet grant): 242,784/97,928 
Start date & duration: October 2017, October 2017–September 2018
Target economy: Indonesia
Location: Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed, Java
  • Improve the quality of the environment by increasing forest cover and the quantity and quality of water resources, as well as reducing the rate of erosion and sedimentation.
  • Increase farmers’ incomes through diversification of farm commodities, improve soil and water conservation technology and develop creative small businesses based on natural resources.
  • Build capacity and increase awareness in managing and conserving natural resources.
Expected outputs:
  • Development of integrated participatory management of microcatchment.
  • Increased stakeholders’ commitment to effective participatory management of microcatchment.
  • Establishment of demonstration plots for conservation farming and watershed rehabilitation.
  • Enhanced community awareness of microcatchment management.
  • Monitoring and evaluation system to monitor watershed performance of microcatchment. 

Bengawan Solo River is the longest river in the Indonesian island of Java. However, the river’s Upper Bengawan Solo Basin is facing serious soil erosion problems, leading to increasing sedimentation flow into the Multipurpose Reservoir of Gajah Mungkur. The functions of the reservoir to control floods, supply water for downstream agriculture and hydroelectricity are now threatened, causing national concern.
The Keduang Watershed is located in the Upper Bengawan Solo Basin and is one of the largest sources of sediment. Before the 1930s, this area was mainly covered by teak forests, however, large-scale deforestation and land clearing for agriculture occurred in the 1940s. In 2011, forest cover was only 2.25 percent.
Reservoir sedimentation and forest degradation are very closely connected. Forests protect soil from the harsh direct hit of rainfall and tree roots hold soil in place and increase the permeability of the soil to water, thus decreasing water and soil runoff. Therefore, the lack of forest cover increases soil erosion and causes an increased sediment flow into the reservoir. Intensive farming of annual crops on the highly erosive and steep-sloped uplands exacerbates erosion.
The APFNet-funded project “Development of participatory management of a microcatchment in the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed” is located in the Naruan microcatchment, sited high in the Keduang watershed. The project aims to develop an operational participatory management plan for the Naruan microcatchment to tackle soil erosion.
Developing a participatory microcatchment management approach: starting from small but comprehensive actions
Watershed management requires an integrated and comprehensive approach. Top-down policy in watershed resources management often results in less effective and inefficient outcomes if they do not involve community stakeholders. In 1974, a Master Development Plan for the Bengawan Solo watershed was created with little involvement of the community, and the upper stream is still facing severe soil erosion.
Preliminary studies conducted in the Naruan microcatchment showed that more than 50 percent of the area has steep slopes and up to 33 percent is threatened by heavy erosion (>480 tonnes/ha/year). In this microcatchment, erosion is largely caused by agriculture. The development of a participatory management plan should involve not only the farmers but all stakeholders in planning and decision-making processes.

Planting is crucial to restoring catchments. Photo: Watershed Management Technology Center.
An earlier preliminary participatory management plan had identified areas to be rehabilitated. The APFNet project organized focus group discussions to further identify and plan detailed actions to mitigate soil erosion, and increase collaboration and commitment of local stakeholders.
An integrated participatory management plan that included comprehensive implementation plans, and monitoring and evaluation of the watershed’s performance was developed. In total, around 60 households were selected, on a total demonstration area of 30 ha. A detailed land management plan and sustainable farming system was developed for each household based on the specific land conditions (especially slope). The land management plan gave specific recommendations on planting patterns, species type (e.g. trees, crops, fruits and understory planting species) and landscape structures (e.g. terraces, drainage systems, gully structures).
Successful microcatchment management can become a good model and prototype for managing large scale catchments for use by the Institute of Watershed Controlling and Protection Forest, and other institutions associated with watershed management.
Finding the most profitable socioeconomic solutions with integrated and sustainable farming systems
The project area included the Karanganyar and Wonogiri districts in Naruan microcatchment and both districts are national priority areas for rural development.
The project encouraged local households to practice conservation agriculture and agroforestry to mitigate soil erosion and improve livelihoods. Conservation agriculture practices includes minimal soil disturbance, year-round land cover and crop rotations. These practices can improve water-use efficiency, reduce soil erosion and increase crop production. In addition, agroforestry practices reduce soil erosion by combining seasonal crops with perennial trees, planted throughout the field with appropriate spacing. By selecting trees and crops species that can provide both short- and long- term benefits, incomes are increased over the long term and, at the same time, soil erosion is reduced.