Sustainability Research Institute

Water Harvesting for Rainfed Africa: investing in dryland agriculture for growth and resilience (WAHARA)

water harvesting solutions

Sponsor: EU FP7 Africa Integrated project

Amount: €2.6 million of which £377,972 in Leeds

Duration: 1 March 2011 - 29 February 2016

Involved staff: Luuk Fleskens (PI), Brian Irvine (School of Geography), Mike Kirkby (School of Geography)

WAHARA takes a transdisciplinary approach to develop innovative, locally adapted water harvesting solutions with wider relevance for rainfed Africa. Water harvesting technologies play a key role in bringing about an urgently needed increase in agricultural productivity, and to improve food and water security in rural areas. Water harvesting technologies enhance water buffering capacity, contributing to the resilience of African drylands to climate variability and climate change, as well as to socioeconomic changes such as population growth and urbanisation. To ensure the continental relevance of project results, research will concentrate on four geographically dispersed study sites in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia, covering diverse socio-economic conditions and a range from arid to sub-humid climates. The project emphasizes: i) selecting and adapting technologies that have synergies with existing farming systems and that are preferred by local stakeholders, yet tap from a global repertoire of innovative options; ii) using models, water harvesting systems will be designed for maximum impact without compromising downstream water-users, contributing to sustainable regional development; iii) learning lessons from local experiences, and developing guidelines on how technologies can be adapted to different conditions; and iv) developing a strategy to scale up successes achieved locally within a region and across regions, promoting knowledge exchange at continental scale.


Partners: Alterra (Netherlands, co-ordinator), MetaMeta BV (Netherlands), Institut des Régions Arides (Tunisia), Institut de l'Environnement et de Researches Agricoles (Burkina Faso), Mekelle University (Ethiopia), Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (Zambia) and Wageningen University (Netherlands).

Water harvesting solutions