The Soil conservation programmes in the state are being executed since fifties, earlier by the Agriculture department and after 1991 by the Watershed Development department.
A lot has been learnt through these programmes. In early fifties, only soil conservation works were taken on individual field basis. In early seventies the emphasis was given on good potential crop varieties, moisture conservation practices, input oriented cropping, but, this could not go long because of uncertainties in amount and intensities of rainfall coupled with resources of poor farmers. So, the emphasis in the end seventies shifted to water conservation and water harvesting techniques. Good results were obtained but need for vegetative conservation measures and promoting simple low cost water management technologies was felt. Looking to this in early eighties, the emphasis was on low cost technologies based on sectoral approach where Forestry, Horticulture, Soil Conservation, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry etc were planned and implemented independently, but the funds for integrated development were not made available by the departments at the same time and in the same area. Looking to this, in mid eighties the concept of integrated watershed management was adopted. Though the approach was holistic but was not sustainable after withdrawal of the project. In the early nineties, the emphasis was given on participatory integrated watershed management for sustenance of the programmes and there was substantial increase in funds from GOI under NWDPRA, DPAP, DDP and IWDP for integrated watershed development works, as such for effective implementation of programme, Department of Watershed Development & Soil Conservation was created from 1991.
In pursuance of 23rd constitutional amendment, field functionaries and budget have been transferred to Panchayati Raj Institutions and hence all Watershed Development Works under various schemes are now being implemented through elected statutory body i.e. Gram Panchayat/ P.R.Is since 1-4-04.At state level the program is being supervised & monitored by directorate Watershed Development & Soil Conservation.