Knowledge for Development

Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa


Date: 11/02/2013


This book by William Critchley (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and John Gowing (Newcastle University, UK), published November 2012, reviews the state of the art of water harvesting for crop production and other uses in Sub-Saharan Africa. It defines water harvesting as a set of approaches which occupy an intermediate position along the water-management spectrum extending from in situ moisture conservation to irrigated agriculture. It includes an assessment of water harvesting schemes that were initiated two or three decades ago when interest was stimulated by the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. These events provide lessons to promote sustainable development of dryland agriculture in the face of changing environmental conditions. Case studies from eight countries across Sub-Saharan Africa provide the evidence base, with a focus on attempts to promote adoption of water harvesting, both horizontally (spread) and vertically (institutionalization).

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