Efficiency of rainwater harvesting of microcatchments and the role of their design

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12 Scopus citations


Microcatchment is a technique for collecting, storing and conserving local surface runoff in order to grow trees/shrubs. In this system, runoff water is generated on a plot and stored in the soil during runoff events, and trees/shrubs may utilize this water during the next dry season. Microcatchments have relatively small runoff generation areas (from dozens to hundreds sq. m) and are cheap and simple to implement Their collection area is usually a small depression located nearby the runoff generating area in which one or a few trees/shrubs may be planted Due to the short overland flow path runoff generation is efficient and even short low intensity storms may generate runoff. The drawback is however that due to the small size of the generating area small volumes of water are conveyed to the storage plots. Another drawback is susceptibility of the augmented water to evaporation. The main objective of present research presented hereafter was to estimate the effect the depth of the depression has on the efficiency of the water conservation in the soil profile. In the present study the storage plots were circular pits and the effect their depth had on evaporative losses and water distribution were studied. The results clearly show that the depth of the pit significantly affects evaporative water losses. The losses were separately computed for the soil cylinder whose upper surface is the bottom of the pit and for the surrounding shell. No differences between treatments were evident for losses from the inner cylinder. Significant differences in water losses were however observed for the surrounding shell where the shallow pits losing as much as six times more than the deeper pits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Arid zone
  • Evaporation
  • Infiltration
  • Runoff
  • Water conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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