A review of rainwater harvesting

Th M. Boers, J. Ben-Asher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


This article reviews recent literature on rainwater harvesting and its potential application for crop production. Some 170 articles published between 1970 and 1980 were found, all of them revealing an awareness of the increasing need for rainwater harvesting and a recognition of its potential. A definition of rainwater harvesting is presented on the basis of three characteristics common to it: arid to semi-arid climate, local water, and small-scale operation. The following elements are considered:. runoff inducement - vegetation management, surface treatment, chemical treatment;. runoff collection - Micro-Catchment Water Harvesting (MCWH) and Runoff Farming Water Harvesting (RFWH);. storage and conservation. Design aspects of MCWH are reviewed: MC size, ratio of contributing area to collecting area, and layout. MCWH is especially suitable to non-irrigated areas. The Kinematic Wave Equation and Dynamic Equations have been used in modelling MCWH. RFWH can be useful in improving irrigation water availability in surface reservoirs. For modelling RFWH, the Unit Hydrograph Method is suitable. More research is required to determine the potential of runoff farming without surface reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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