Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM)

Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM) 

The Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM) is part of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and is responsible for programmes that help to conserve fragile soil resources in a way that is integrated with watershed management. Nepal`s rugged and geologically unstable steep mountain topography, coupled with intense monsoon rainfall for several months per year, make the country prone to high soil erosion rates. The erosion is further exacerbated by the fact that farmers are increasingly driven to cultivate ever more marginal slopes in order to meet the agricultural demands of a rapidly increasing population. Other physiographic and climatic conditions such as deforestation, overgrazing, and poorly maintained marginal lands conspire to further contribute to the degradation of watersheds. In addition, the socioeconomic conditions that prevail in one of the world`s poorest countries mean that human activities such as improper land use, unscientific cultivation practices, and the construction of development infrastructure without integrating conservation measures continue to add to the problems of soil erosion, which lead to landslides, flooding, and environmental degradation. 

The DSCWM approach to integrated watershed management has two main objectives. First, to assist in maintaining a good balance in the ecology by reducing the stress on the environment induced by natural hazards such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion through the conservation and development of important watersheds. Second, to maintain the productivity of the land by helping to reduce soil erosion, and to contribute to development infrastructure by seeing that this goes hand-in-hand with scientific management of watersheds. 

DSCWM plans, implements, and monitors soil conservation programmes and activities based on the principles of integrated watershed management. This multidisciplinary approach encompasses aspects of forestry, agriculture, civil engineering, chemistry, and geology. The DSCWM extends its various services on soil conservation and integrated watershed management to 73 of Nepal’s 75 districts through 56 District Soil Conservation Offices (DSCO). From a soil erosion point of view, Dang is one of the very poorest districts in Nepal.