Experts call for scale up of rain water harvesting across Africa

A tank used for rainwater harvest. File.

Water and agriculture experts have said that water shortages for agriculture and other activities can be addressed by harvesting rain water.

This is at a time when the African continent is facing rising water challenges due to higher demand caused by rapid population growth, urbanisation, increasing food demands and depletion of natural water resources.


Experts say that this can be addressed through efficient use of water harvesting measure across Sub-Saharan Africa with potential impacts on farmers and whole economies.


This was observed this week during an expert workshop on answering the call for an African water revolution hosted by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A).


The workshop, which was held in Kigali, convened about 80 participants from 16 countries.

Dr. Belay Begashaw, Director General, SDGC/A indicated that water harvesting is essential to bring inclusive economic growth which is environmentally sustainable.

“There will be a need to focus on available water use technologies by performing irrigation to ensure more agricultural productivity. That means getting infrastructure that is certainly expensive, but that allows for better harvests,” he noted.

Begashaw said that there is need to think of a different financial order trajectory in order to scale existing technology on green water (harvested water) as 50 per cent of SDGs will not be met in the current order of financial situation because planetary boundaries will not be met.

“This is how we will achieve food security and end hunger in the world. This requires addressing the challenges of climate change, floods and drought. It will also be necessary to recycle wastewater and reuse it,” Begashaw noted.

Jean Claude Kayisinga, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that rain water harvesting is key to achieving food security.

Highlighting an example of one site named Rwamagana-34 located in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province; the Permanent Secretary noted that there is need for capacity building to boost farmers’ practices.

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