Make use of rains through harvesting

“Rainwater harvesting is an old technique of water conservation where rainwater is collected using various methods or structures to capture the water,” Ngaruka said.

20 January 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

Farmers should take advantage of the good rains and make optimal use of it by reducing excessive run-offs through harvesting rainwater.

This according to Erastus Ngaruka, Agribank’s technical advisor for livestock and rangeland, who said many farming areas are challenged by the availability of water.

They are also challenged by the functionality of water infrastructure, which hampers their productivity, he added.

“Rainwater harvesting is an old technique of water conservation where rainwater is collected using various methods or structures to capture the water.”



Rainwater can be used for several household needs such as laundry, irrigation, bathing, cleaning, and for livestock.

Common methods

Ngaruka said the most common methods include harvesting water from buildings’ rooftops, using gutters to channel water into storage drums or tanks and by channelling or diverting run-off water towards a pond or earth dam and even towards a crop field to irrigate the crops or rehydrate the soil.

“Harvesting methods are simple and cheap, thus, they can be adopted at any scale, especially in rural areas where water demand and supply are mostly a challenge.”

He added that individual farmers or communities can set up rainwater harvesting infrastructures at their water points and have additional storage tanks or use rainwater to fill up their reservoirs to complement borehole water supply.

According to him, the advantages of rainwater harvesting include conserving water as well as that it is cost-effective, increases water supply and conserves the soil by reducing run-off and erosion.

Water infiltration

“The techniques of reducing run-offs are also aimed at facilitating water infiltration into the soil by obstructing or reducing the speed of flow, therefore increasing the moisture content and water-holding capacity of the soil.

This can be done on crop fields and grazing areas. For example, the flow of water can be obstructed or slowed down by laying various local materials such as rocks, tree branches, or wood logs across the direction of the flow, which will then allow water to settle and infiltrate in the soil, Ngaruka said.

“With the good rainfall prospects for the rest of the season, Namibians should take advantage and invest in rainfall harvesting modalities to increase sustainable food production. During the coronavirus pandemic, food scarcity or supply will be of concern, thus, in an effort maintain food self-sufficiency, every farmer should turn the land at their disposal into food baskets for own consumption and income generation.”

Prioritising and enhancing agriculture at all scales is the only tool to alleviate poverty, create employment, develop rural areas and reduce rural-urban migration, he said.

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