In-situ water harvesting the way to go for resilient livelihood

In-situ water harvesting technologies using structures such as convectional and dead level contours reinforced with infiltration pits, have featured prominently among others as a strategy for mitigating water shortages associated with droughts in rain fed cropping systems in the last two decades[1].Climate Adaptation for Rural Livelihoods project’s areas of implementation in Buhera district suffer periodic droughts and dry spells often causing complete crop failure, water scarcity, livestock deaths and leading to difficulties in sustaining livelihoods. The project is promoting contours establishment and maintenance of existing contour in the targeted wards.




In ward 28 under Scaling up climate change adaptation project with funding from UNDP the project supported establishment of contours and a total of 4 Ha area was protected. Munamati was one of the farmers who benefited from the program. The main reason why he opened contours was to protect soil that he was seeing being eroded by rainfall. Since 2016, the farmer has been maintaining the contours, reaping multiple benefits from the water being harvested. Munamati has managed to tame the water so that all the rain water received in his field is kept using the contours reinforced with pits and deep wells dug in the field. The farmer is irrigating a 0.75 Ha using the harvested water. In such a dry area the farmer is successfully growing maize in summer and sugar beans in winter getting an average harvest of 2tonnes of maize and 0.32 tonnes of sugar beans. Grass growing along the contour ridges is being used to feed cattle. This year the farmer may not get his average harvest of 2tonnes because of heavy fall army worm infestation with an estimated damage of 50%.

The farmer is hosting the rain guage for the CRV and to date the area has received, however, the farmer is failing to effectively utilize the water because of a flood irrigation system he is using. The water is manually collected from the well/ pit along the contours and through a pipe and it’s channelled to the crops. To irrigate the 0.75 Ha, the farmer takes 9hrs spread in 3 days. Method is labour intensive and wastes water. The farmer`s future plan is to establish an efficient water irrigation system.  He has bigger vision of turning all his 4Ha arable land into a small irrigation plot and is will to get a loan that he can repay from the proceeds. Plans of digging a small dam are underway “ndirikuronga kuchera kadhamu kadiki kanonyatsobata mvura yakawanda