Water Harvesting - Guidelines to Good Practices

This publication on “Water Harvesting – Guidelines to Good Practice” was mandated by IFAD, prepared by WOCAT in collaboration with MetaMeta and RAIN and funded by SDC and  IFAD. Find out more about the project "Water Harvesting".

Water security is a prerequisite to achieve food security. Water Harvesting offers under-exploited opportunities for the drylands and the predominantly rainfed farming systems of the developing world. The principle is simple: capture potentially damaging rainfall runoff and translate this into plant growth or water supply. This makes clear sense where rainfall is limited, uneven or unreliable with pronounced dry spells. These new guidelines introduce the concepts behind water harvesting and propose a harmonised classification system, followed by an assessment of suitability, adoption and up-scaling of practices. Four water harvesting groups are presented (flood water harvesting, macro- and microcatchment water harvesting as well as rooftop and courtyard water harvesting) and, for each, a selection of good practice in the form of case studies is given. These case studies are presented in the systematic, consistent and standardised format developed by the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT).

These practical guidelines offer a menu of technologies that can form part of an overall adaptation strategy for practitioners in the field and inform decision makers and donors to better understand and implement their choices. These technologies are flexible and if needed can be adjusted to the local context while being embedded into institutional frameworks. The aim is to stimulate discussion and new thinking about improved water management in general, and water harvesting in particular, within rainfed agriculture, particularly in the drylands and to facilitate, share and upscale good practice in water harvesting given the state of current knowledge.

Rima Mekdaschi Studer and Hanspeter Liniger (2013)


Flyer Water Harvesting
516.0 KB



Book Water Harvesting English
31.3 MB


Book Water Harvesting French
33.1 MB

Bahasa Indonesia

Not all of the publication was translated but parts found relevant for the Indonesian context

Book Water Harvesting Bahasa Indonesia.pdf
31.6 MB


SLM Technology Videos: Water Harvesting
Author: WOCAT
Languages: English
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Water Harvesting frontpage
Practices documented in the WOCAT Global SLM Database

The practices documented in the publication can also be viewed in the WOCAT Global SLM Database.