The Department of Land Resources, Government of India has initiated a World Bank supported multi-State project namely Rejuvenating Watershed for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD). REWARD is currently being implemented in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. It is proposed as a 6 years Project. It is expected to positively influence by promoting resource efficient growthin selected watersheds, investing in human capital at State and National levels, and developing networks of scientific and technical partners. The project will enhance productivity and net income of farmers and contribute significantly by implementing new science and data-driven approaches for climate resilient watershed management, land resource inventory, land use planning, and precision farming in a range of agro-ecological conditions in participating states. The project will directly address key strategic actions around agricultural and rural development, including doubling farmers’ incomes, more crops per drop, water to every plot, soil health, and promotion of entrepreneurship through technical and financial support for better delivery and impacts through improved planning approaches, capacity building, coordination and convergence, and supportive research and development. The outcomes are prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.
The REWARD project would be state-driven and a flexible approach to be adopted in participating states to select watersheds for developing improved data bases and watershed plans, as well as 10 – 20 Green field sites to establish model watersheds on saturation approach. The total allocation for the Project is approximately USD250 million of which USD178.5 million is International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan from the World Bank and the balance is funded by the Government of India/ State Governments. Odisha is likely to get a credit of USD 70 million, based on a 70/30 World Bank-GoI/State cost sharing. The REWARD project will be designed following programmefor results (PforR) framework and the fund release will be based on result indicators. The DoLR would also be an implementing partner through its own financing agreement with the Bank to implement a stand-alone national-level component. Technical guidance and support to other states would come through a Lighthouse approach with Sujala-III project from the Karnataka Watershed Development Department and its existing network technical partners.