A global and regional perspective of rainwater harvesting in sub-Saharan Africa's rainfed farming

Authors Karpouzoglou, T.; Barron, J.
Year of Publication 2014
Type of Publication Journal Article
Journal Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C
Volume 88
Issue 7
Pagination 43-53
Open Access No


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 development 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 farm-level adoption of RWHTs, and regional to global level actors, institutions and processes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.