Water harvesting as community based response to drought

harvesting water

Time span of the project    2016-2019
Contact person
Dr Ralph Lasage
Project partners
VM-VU, Southern Kenyan University (SEKU) 
Project sponsorN/A


At the premises of the SEKU University in Kitui a research site has been developed, to study improved water management in semi-arid regions, with a specific focus on small scale water harvesting systems. The IVM has been involved in project research in Kitui since 2005. In September 2016, Dr. Ralph Lasage and two MSc Hydrology students of the VU have installed the meteorological and hydrological instruments, jointly with staff and MSc students of the Southern Kenyan University (SEKU).

The current experiments focus on the infiltration and evaporation rates from water harvesting systems, to improve understanding of the water storage capacities. Knowledge developed from this research will help implementing organisations (NGOs, governments) in the design and choice of suitable water harvesting measures. Earlier research shows that limited empirical information has been published on these types of systems (Lasage and Verburg, 2015). Also, the field information will be used to validate a water harvesting storage model which has been developed at the VU. The results of the field scale analysis are used for a regional assessment of the potential of water harvesting systems to help bridge the dry season, including the investment costs, for Sub Saharan Africa.

In 2017 we will study the effect of water harvesting on crop yield, jointly with the agricultural department of SEKU, and also research the effect of water harvesting systems on households income, diet, and time allocation through a household survey. The goal is to explore the benefits of increasing water availability for rural farmers and to find out critical factors for the implementation of similar water harvesting systems.