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Water Harvesting – Guidelines to Good Practice

Water harvesting has been practiced successfully for millennia in parts of the world – and some recent interventions have also had significant local impact. Yet water harvesting’s potential remains largely unknown, unacknowledged and unappreciated.

It is time to scale-up the ‘good practices’ of water harvesting that have survived or emerged from new experience, after decades of almost exclusive focus on mastering fresh water flows in rivers and lakes through investments in irrigation infrastructure. Water harvesting offers under-exploited opportunities for the predominantly rainfed farming systems of the drylands in the developing world. It works best in precisely those areas where rural poverty is worst. When practiced well, its impact is to simultaneously reduce hunger and alleviate poverty, as well as to improve the resilience of the environment.

There is a hidden wealth of knowledge about these water harvesting technologies, and the settings in which they tend to perform best. This is the first time this knowledge has been uncovered, collated and made available in such an organized, illustrated and informative way – linking technologies to the knowledge networks that will serve the intended users of these practical guidelines to better understand and implement their choices.

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