A global and regional perspective of rainwater harvesting

Published on
October 21, 2014


Karpouzoglou, T. & Barron, J. (2014). A global and regional perspective of rainwater harvesting in sub-Saharan Africa’s rainfed farming systems, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (online first).


In semi-arid and sub-humid sub-Saharan Africa highly variable rainfall, frequent droughts and low water productivity are consistently undermining food security. Rainwater harvesting technologies (RWHTs) help utilise water more productively whilst raising yield levels. In this article it is argued that realising the potential of RWHTs for resilience building and climate adaptation requires a better understanding of global and regional processes influencing RWHTs adoption combined with pre-existing analysis at the household scale. On the basis of a systematic literature review, processes of influence in the diffusion and uptake of RWHTs are identified. These relate to shifting ideology associated with food production systems; the scope of investments in agriculture science and technology; emergent actors shaping  evelopment assistance; and patterns of farmer mobility. Drawing insights from theory on transformations for sustainability and development, this article adds to the understanding of connectedness between farmlevel adoption of RWHTs, and regional to global level actors, institutions and processes.