Success stories

1. Resource based perspective plan 2020 AD – This is a first approximation document on a resource based land use plan in 1:250,000 scale. The report narrows down the knowledge gap in the direction of scientific agricultural development to identify the problems and potentialities of land resource, suitable crops in three levels of suitability factors, limiting factors, area and location upto village level. The data includes village-wise soil units, their area and suitability sub classes, taluk-wise area of each soil units with suitability status indicating recommendation for main and intercrops, list of crops indicating potential productivity under S1,S2,S3 situations, potential areas available for commonly cultivated crops in the State, etc.

2. Watershed Atlas of Kerala – A watershed Atlas of the forty four river basins of the State on 1:50,000 scale was prepared and published which would cater the needs of the line departments to have uniformity in watershed delineation when chalking out watershed management and development programmes.

3. Land Use Survey of Idukki district using remote sensing techniques – The project was completed in 1981. The objective was to evolve a land use plan for the district for land use planning and natural resource management for sustainable development, using panchromatic black and white and Colour Infra Red (CIR) aerial photographs on 1:15,000 scale.

4. Nationwide Land use/land cover Mapping Project – Land Use/land cover mapping of the entire State was carried out by the visual interpretation (1:250,000 scale) of IRS-IA satellite images.

5. Identification and Mapping of Waste lands in 1:50,000 scale – The area of extent of the different waste lands categories of the State were mapped.

6. Coconut Crop Inventory – The Coconut Crop Inventory of Alapuzha, Kottayam and Idukki districts were done by interpretation of Satellite images, CIR and aerial photographs in collaboration with Space Application Centre, Ahemedabad.

7. Land Degradation (Land Slides) in Kerala – The objective of the study was to provide a general understanding of the land slide problem of the State and identify potential landslide areas. The report of the study conducted in 1996 brought out different case studies on land slides in the State, land slide occurrence in the State and categorized the land slide hazard risk zones of the State spatially at 1:250,000 scale.

8. Assessing the Extent and Magnitude of the Degradation Occurring in the Wetlands of Kerala The objectives of the project were (1) to identify and categorize the wetlands occurring in the State of Kerala on 1:10,000 scale, (2) to assess the extent of degradation occurring in the wetlands, (3) to generate a digital database of the wetlands of Kerala and (4) to document the reasons for the various degradation process taking place.

9. Panchayat Resource Mapping was the project to map the basic assets, land use and water resources of Panchayat. It was completed in all local bodies of the State. The programme was implemented utilizing the infrastructure and capabilities at Regional Office, Thrissur and through the selected Non-Governmental Organizations under the technical supervision of Kerala State Land Use Board

10. Agro ecological zonation was done for the entire state. 985 farm clubs were organized at panchayat level for disseminating the advanced technologies and management practices in the farming community of the State. Soil and leaf analysis were carried out to assess the micronutrient status and suitable recommendations were given to the farmers

11. Digital Resource maps of Thrissur, Wayanad, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Palakkad and Kannur districts prepared in Geographical Information System. The Block level atlas was prepared for all the blocks in these districts. User interactive software, Panchayat Resource Information System (PRIS) was also developed for Thrissur district.

12. State level yathra named Jala Paristithi Swadeshi Sandesha Yathra was organized from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram during January 2004 to create awareness among the people on conservation of water, environment and promotion of local products.

13. Massive awareness on the need of rain water harvesting was done through seminars and advertisements through print and visual media.

14. Panchayat level watershed maps prepared for seven southern districts and handed over to Haritha Keralam Mission

Salient factures of some of these projects is detailed below:



Planning Commission of India discovered the unique distinction of Indian Agriculture and introduced the agro-climatic factor based agricultural development in India and the scientific initiation of agricultural land use planning. It was a scientific approach through which agricultural productivity can be enhanced by agro-climatic and location specific land use planning techniques. Kerala was included in the west coast plains and Ghat region having maximum agricultural and forest biodiversity.

Kerala State Land Use Board has taken historical leadership in initiating agro-climatic agricultural land use planning efforts. As enunciated in the agro-climatic regional planning report of the Planning Commission there was a need for redefining the soil, water, plant relationship and subsequently a comprehensive agricultural development programme. As a scientific initiative the Kerala State Land Use Board instituted a committee to prepare (Resource Based Perspective Plan 2020 AD). This perspective plan effort was sponsored by Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of India.

This is a pioneering effort in Kerala as far as the agricultural land use planning is concerned. This document features all possible data related to agricultural land use, soil, climate, land use pattern, water resources, hydrogeology, forest land resource etc. within the frame work of agro-climatic characteristics. Thus, the document depicts different information collected from different sources and then focusing towards the potentiality to increase agriculture productivity. The document which is a gigantic volume is published in two parts having 1254 pages with eleven chapters appended with numerous Plates, Tables, Maps etc.

In chapter No. 1 an introductory narrative on perspective planning for sustainable land use, sustainable or alternate agriculture, an overview of the agricultural scenario in India, agriculture in Kerala, scope for sustainable agriculture in Kerala are depicted.

As a preliminary observation the document identifies in the land forms of Kerala and extend of land degradation due to several attributes. The report also classifies the land into different categories viz; coastal sandy soils, coastal water-logged soils associated with salinity and acid-sulphates, degraded open forests, severe stream bank erosion areas, land slide and sea erosion prone areas which becomes a barricade in achieving sustainable agriculture development in Kerala. It also describes about the nutrient status of the soil and other agricultural practices including the application of pesticides and fertilizers. The report also discusses the need for the location specific research.

The report discusses about a perspective plan for cropping pattern in Kerala and classifies Kerala into different zones as South zone, Central zone, Northern zone, the High range zone and Special zone of problem. Even though some micro differences in the categorization can be pointed out, in general the categorization is ecologically more or less acceptable. In the case of Special zone of problem, the categorization goes as follows, it includes Onattukara, Kuttanad and Pokkalli kole lands and sugarcane land spread over the six districts of Kollam, Allappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram. It may be mentioned here that as such these are the areas where different types of ecological problems especially an interface of agricultural ecosystem, paddy cultivation and wet land ecosystem compete each other for survival. The major emphasis in describing the salient features of these areas is to focus on the compatible cropping pattern. Thus the information provided in the introductory chapter is rather exhaustive and portray almost a comprehensive structure of agricultural ecology and its related subsystems in Kerala.



Ensuring sustainability of land resources is of paramount importance especially in the present period. Watershed planning ensures the conservation, development and management of our precious land resources for sustainable land use planning. Among the different development approaches to minimize the impact of natural and human induced land resource degradation, watershed approach of planning and development has proved to be the very effective throughout the globe.

The first step towards watershed management is the scientific delineation of watershed boundaries of each watershed or river basin at various levels such as Watershed, Sub Watershed, Micro Watershed etc. on the basis of the distribution of the tributaries of each river. This has to be followed by the codification and assessment of the problems and potentials at each level for the proper planning and development.

Realising its importance, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture & Co-operation under the CSS scheme has sanctioned a project to Kerala State Land Use Board to prepare the watershed atlas on 1:50,000 scale upto micro watershed level for all the 44 rivers of the State. Accordingly Kerala State Land Use Board during 1996 has brought out the watershed atlas for individual river basin for all the 44 rivers. This was the first of its kind in the country. The atlas covered the delineation, codification, description of the resources, problems and potential of each river basin.

Such an atlas was a long felt need for the State by different user departments, agencies for preparing integrated development plans. Presently this is being widely used by different organizations, departments, local bodies NGOs etc. for preparing integrated development plan for wasteland development; soil and water conservation, rural development, mitigation of drought/floods, NREGP, social forestry, afforestation programme, natural disaster management programmes etc. Hence this project served its purpose and was highly beneficial to the State of Kerala under the CSS programme implemented through Kerala State Land Use Board.



Kerala Government declared its intention to frame a Land Use Policy within the frame work of National Policy guide lines and also to strengthen the Land Use Board in accordance with the directions of Government of India.

Kerala State is following a sectoral management system in planning and development. An integrated planning and development with holistic approach is an imperative necessity for the success in the endeavor. The fragmentation prevailing in our socio economic structure has to be taken note of as a social reality, and as such the above basic infrastructure facilities must be developed by the Government. Land development and optimum land utilization could be achieved only by employing proper resource management techniques with respect to the agro-economical regions of the state. Indiscriminate sand mining from river banks and beds, clay mining for brick making, silicate sand mining, unscientific husk setting for coir making, indiscriminate application for fertilizers and pesticides, unscientific laying out of roads, conservation of paddy fields for building site and other activities which lack a long term perspective has lead to destruction of the ecosystem causing accelerated calamites namely drought in summer and floods in monsoon.

Guiding principles of Land use Planning in the State are to achieve self reliance, sustainability and protection of the ecosystem, particularly land resources viz, Soil Water-Plant-Animal subsystems. The general physiographic, climatological and soil characteristics mentioned above complementary contribute to the serious land degradation hazards, indiscriminate deforestation, uncontrolled grazing and unscientific soil and water management practices have aggravated the problem of soil erosion, landslides etc. at alarming proportions.

Land Use Policy once implemented will ensure productive capacity, proper irrigation and fertility of the arable lands and optimum agriculture production. The indiscriminate convertion of land has to be curbed. The agriculture, industrial and residential areas has to be identified. Water sources for agricultural, domestic and industrial use has to be effectively managed. The interests of conservation for biomass in particular and the natural forest in general has to be safeguard. The ultimate goal of the policy is to ensure optimum use of the earth surface without degrading its productivity, flora and flora. With this perspective, Kerala State Land Use Board has prepared and submitted a draft Land Use Policy for the approval of the State Government.



The department has initiated a project for the preparation of Land Resources Information System during 2010-11 with the objective to demonstrate and promote the use of spatial data technologies for local level planning and to provide software support for data management, modeling and operation research. It also envisaged promoting R&D in spatial technologies, technology transfer and capacity building of potential users and for linkage with users at different levels. In the context of preparation of watershed based action plan for Haritha Keralam Mission, Mahatma Gandhi NREGS and other development activities, the LSGIs are to be equipped for better and scientific management of the land and its resources at grass root level in the planning process. Hence it was envisaged to strengthen the Panchayat Level Data Base with more number of primary and secondary themes. The web based spatial information developed under this project included the large scale spatial data base with detailed inventory of natural resources such as land forms, geology, soil, water resources, groundwater potential, watershed, etc. This multilayered information system contains a comprehensive status of land and water resources in a spatial frame work. It provides information on natural resources for planning and successful management of land and water resources at micro level.

The digital LRIS is a dynamic system in GIS domain. The integration of natural resources information with all other socio-economic and meteorological information provides a multi layered information base. A decision support system for knowledge based land evaluation system was developed with the assistance of IIITM-K.

The Department has developed Land Resource Information System for 14 districts of Kerala. This includes themes like assets, road, drain, geology, geomorphology, lineament, soil, lithology and groundwater at panchayath level. The database of all the 14 districts is available in the website. LRIS is extensively used by line departments, LSGIs and other agencies in the State for planning and implementing developmental activities. It is evident that the web based information system helps in micro and macro level planning in a single frame work.

The department bagged E-Governance Award of State Government for this initiative.



Web based watershed data base was deployed for the entire State.



The Hon.MLA of Kattakada Constituency, Sri. I. B. Sathish, in his address on World Environment Day 2016, put forth a suggestion before the people’s representatives and Government Officials to make Kattakada a water sufficient constituency by five years. The idea of formulating an integrated water conservation and management project, viz. Vattatha Uravakkay Jalasamrudhi to mitigate the water scarcity problem was whole heartedly taken up by the district administration which ensured public participation and involvement of the various Government Departments implementing soil and water conservation schemes. Kerala State Land Use Board (KSLUB) was entrusted the task of preparing a technically feasible and economically viable management plan, converging the activities proposed by the departments. The Department successfully prepared the Water Resources Management Plan and deployed the same in public domain.

Highlights of Vattatha Uravakkay Jalasamrudhi project

• Initiative of Hon. MLA, Sri. I. B. Sathish
• Project started without earmarked funds
• Scientific Water Resource Management Plan
• Leadership of District Administration & Haritha Keralam Mission
• Collaboration of LSGIs & Departments
• Support of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
• Modern technologies for spatial planning
• Convergence of projects of different development departments
• Low cost & Location specific solutions
• Active people’s participation
• Involvement of NGOs, youth & students

Scientific Planning & People’s participation

KSLUB prepared a comprehensive data base on existing water resources through primary data collection coupled with Satellite Image interpretation. The entire database has been brought in the GIS platform. The database was enriched by secondary data and fine-tuned through user interaction workshops and stake holder discussions. A series of seminars, discussions and trainings were conducted to ensure the community participation in project planning.

The existing water resources were identified with its problems and the reasons for the present situation. Based on detailed discussions, exploring the possibility of conserving the water received through rainfall, rejuvenation/revival of deteriorated water resources and creation of new water storage structures were evolved.


Special mention in 4th World Reconstruction Conference

In the fourth edition of the World Reconstruction Conference held in Geneva in May 2019, Jalasamrudhi was introduced as a noble integrated model for water conservation. The integrated watershed management techniques used in Kattakada Legislative constituency were referred to in a paper presented by Dr. Paul Van Meel, Team leader of Dutch Risk Reduction Team. Earlier a team from Netherlands had visited Kattakada to study this successful model of water conservation.

The major highlights are

• Best example of Integrated Watershed Management
• The Nemom block has reached safe zone from semi critical as per ground water report status.
• All stake holders are involved from children at school to elderly people
• If replicated in other watersheds and sub basins in Kerala, 80 % of the Integrated River Basin Management goals would be achieved
• Increase flood and drought resilience tremendously
• Strong political support & enthusiastic staff
• Less investment in infrastructure

The Project has bagged Chief Ministers Award for Innovation in Public Policy (2017) under the category of Development Intervention. The Department received SKOCH Award Silver for water and ELETS Award at National Level. Project was mentioned as the best Model for Integrated Water Resource Management in the 4th World Reconstruction Conference held at Geneva during May 2019. The project also bagged 3rd prize in Best Awareness category in the 2nd National Water Award from Ministry of Jalashakthi. The website ( which is developed as part of Jalasamrudhi project secured e-governance award for the year 2018.