Project lists

Development Participatory Management of Micro Catchment at the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed
25 Feb 2020     

Project title: Development of Participatory Management of Micro Catchment at the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed [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 

Kick-off date & duration: October 2017, 10/2017-09/2018

Target economy: Indonesia




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. This erosion has resulted in an increasing sedimentation flow in the Multipurpose Reservoir of Gajah Mungkur (MRGM), which has become a national issue, because the reservoir is now inhibited in its function as a flood control and water supplier for downstream agriculture.


The Keduang Watershed is located in the Upper Bengawan Solo Basin and one of the biggest causes of sedimentation. Before the 1930s, the area was mainly covered by teak forests, however, in the 1940s, large scale deforestation to open up land for agriculture destroyed them. In 2011 forest cover in the area was only 2.25%.


Reservoir sedimentation and forest degradation are in fact very closely connected. Forests protect soil from the harsh direct hit of rainfall and roots both hold soil in place and increase the permeability of the soil to water, thus decreasing the runoff.  Therefore, a lack of forest cover increases soil erosion and causes an increased sediment flow into the MRGM. Intensive farming of annual crops on the highly erosive and steep-sloped uplands exacerbates the problem. The decrease of storage capacity of the MRGM will lose its functions for water supply and flood control if this continues.


The APFNet funded project “Development of Participatory Management of a Micro Catchment at the Bengawan Solo Upper Watershed” is located in the Naruan Micro Catchment, which is the upstream part of the Keduang Watershed. The project aims to develop an operational level participatory management plan for the Naruan Micro Catchment to tackle local soil erosion.


A participatory micro catchment 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 don’t involve the stakeholders. In the project’s Bengawan Solo watershed, a Master Development Plan for the whole area was created in 1974 with little involvement of the community, and until now the upper stream is still facing severe soil erosion.


Preliminary studies conducted in the Naruan micro-catchment showed that in this micro-catchment more than 50% of the area has steep slopes and up to 33% of the area is threatened by heavy erosion (>480 tons/ha/year). In this specific catchment, the erosion problems are largely caused by agriculture. Therefore, it’s necessary to develop a ground-level participatory management plan involving not only the farmers but all stakeholders in the planning and decision making processes.




Fig. 1 Planting is a crucial part of the restoration of catchments


The APFNet project sets out to develop such a plan and build a model of successful watershed management to reduce soil erosion problems at the operational level. A preliminary participatory management plan has been drafted beforehand, which mainly identified areas to be rehabilitated. The planning process of developing the participatory management plan is undertaken collaboratively by all stakeholders.


The project organized focus group discussions to further identify detailed actions to mitigate soil erosion problems, and increase the commitments of local stakeholders.


An integrated participatory management plan was formulated that includes comprehensive planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the watershed’s performance. In total around 60 households were selected with a demonstration area of 30 ha. The plan developed a sustainable farming system, which was introduced to the micro catchment, and a detailed land management plan for each household based on the specific land condition (especially the land slope). The land management plan gave specific suggestions on the planting patterns, vegetation combination (e.g. trees, crops, fruits and understory planting species) and mechanical structure (e.g. terraces, drainage system, gully structure).  


The success of managing this micro-catchment may become the good example and model for the Institute of Watershed Controlling and Protection Forest, and other institutions associated with watershed management and could become a prototype applied on a larger scale.


Finding the Most Profitable Solution: Applying Integrated & Sustainable farming system

In the context of socio-economic development in Indonesia, the project area includes the Karanganyar and Wonogiri Districts in Naruan catchment which are the national priority areas for rural development.


The project encouraged local households to practice conservation agriculture and agroforestry to make benefits and mitigate soil erosion. They select the trees and crops species which can provide short and long term benefits, such as increasing their incomes and thereby improving the quality of life. At the same time, the soil erosion problem will be reduced through conservation agriculture and agroforestry practices.


Conservation agriculture, signified by minimal soil disturbance, year-round land cover, and crop rotations, improves water-use efficiency, reduces soil erosion, and increases crop production. Additionally, agroforestry combines seasonal crops and perennial trees, the trees will not only be planted in the boundary but throughout the field with appropriate spacing, which also reduces the soil erosion. 


- To improve the quality of the environment by increasing forest cover, increasing the quantity and quality of water resources as well as reducing the rate of erosion and sedimentation;

- To increase people's incomes through diversification of their farm commodities, improvement of soil and water conservation technology and development of creative small businesses based on natural resources; and

To enhance capacity building and increase awareness in managing and conserving natural resources.

Expected outputs:

- Stakeholders’ commitment to effective participatory management of micro- catchment will be increased;

- Integrated participatory management of micro catchment will be formulated;

- Demonstration plots of conservation farming and watershed rehabilitation will be established;

- Community awareness in management of micro catchment will be enhanced;

Monitoring & Evaluation (M & E) of watershed performance within the scale of micro catchment and landscapes will be conducted.





Project is located in Naruan Micro Catchment, upstream part of Keduang Watershed, The Upper Bengawan Solo River Basin (Figure 1). Administratively, it is situated in Wonogiri and Karanganyar Districts, Central Java.


Fig. 1 Project Location



1. Project Proposal [2017P6-INA-PP]_fin.pdf