|Water harvesting offers farmers hope|
|Sunday, 23 December 2012 21:03|
Jeffrey Gogo - Climate Story
CLIMATE change has greatly increased rainfall and water variability worldwide. Now that’s more than just a wake-up call for Zimbabwean farmers and communities to take water harvesting seriously.
The thin infrastructure that exists in some parts of the country to capture rainwater and store it for future use should be urgently strengthened and new ones established in areas that need them most.
Indeed, water harvesting is nothing new.
Well-structured and co-ordinated water harvesting strategies would be critical in building drought resilience and enhancing capacity for climate change adaptation for poor rural farming communities.
provinces, large parts of the Midlands and Masvingo, and some areas in the north and north-east.
These areas, which represent over 60 percent of all state land are typically high temperature, low-rainfall regions receiving below 600mm rain per year and experiencing more frequent, severe droughts.
Yet, the main food-producing ecological regions two and three have declined by 49 percent and 13 percent in that order.
This is where water harvesting comes in, and more so given UN forecasts two-thirds of the world population will experience significantly reduced access to water resources by 2025.
drinking, irrigated farming and for livestock.
It is very possible and practical for farmers to capture water and store it for different uses in the future.
The larger projects could be capital intensive meaning Zimbabwe may have to cast its net wider searching for development finance.
“Rain is the first form of water that we know in the hydrological cycle, hence is a primary source of water for us.
The network says water harvesting means to understand the value of rain, and to make optimum use of the rainwater at the place where it falls. However, Harare agri-business development expert Mr Midway Bhunu decried the lack of Government support in establishing management and development frameworks that cushion farmers and communities from the effects of declining water resources caused by climate change.
“While water harvesting is a very noble idea and feasible in Zimbabwe, there is a lack of support at national level towards such projects that help communities to make good use of rainwater.
“In Zimbabwe success stories of water harvesting are very few. We need to change our response rate to issues concerning climate change,” Mr Bhunu said.
This may be aided by transforming climate data into usable formats for policymakers and individual farmers.
In East Africa, the Kenya Rainwater Association, supported by the African Water Facility, is implementing a pilot programme aimed at increasing drought resilience and climate change adaptation, using integrated rainwater harvesting management.
Targeting three districts — Baringo, Kiambu West and Laikipia — the programme is expected to bolster water harvesting infrastructure development, use complementary water harvesting technologies to improve livelihoods and generate income, and encourage knowledge sharing among community members.
More specifically, the project will raise awareness on rainwater harvesting techniques, promote improved water management models, use watershed conservation, install water tanks and promote good hygiene practices.
Vision (2025) and in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.