Water, water, everywhere?
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CTA. 2000. Water, water, everywhere? . Spore 88. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46877
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore88.pdf
Alternative Irrigation. The Promise of Runoff Agriculture CJ Barrow, Earthscan, 1999. 240 pp. ISBN 1 85383 496 3 GBP 15.95 E 25.40 Earthscan Publications Ltd 120 Pentonville Road London, N1 9JN, UK Fax: +44 20 7278 1142 Email: earthinfo@ear
In most ACP countries, large-scale expansion of irrigation is not a significant option: water is not available, and diverting rivers or pumping groundwater is expensive and impractical. Furthermore, whilst more than 80% of the world s agriculture is rain-fed, in Africa the average is 95%. Hence the importance of making better use of surface and sub-surface runoff water. In Alternative Irrigation, Christopher Barrow describes runoff agriculture as the practice of concentrating runoff for crop cultivation, pastures and trees. He covers practically all tillage methods, planting patterns, and techniques that delay and retain runoff, increase infiltration and counter erosion. He adds other techniques such as constructing ridges, small dams, hedges and terraces, fog harvesting and flood and swamp agriculture. It is a persuasive package that shows that, by being rooted in soil and water conservation principles, runoff agriculture is a sustainable and low-cost alternative for improving subsistence and smallholder farms. Barrow introduces not only the techniques and strategies, but also the challenges of this approach. The effects of runoff measures are often only tangible in the long run, and although the costs of the techniques are low, so are the profits. For commercial producers, returns on investments in irrigation are more profitable, but that is not always available. More support is needed for runoff agriculture, but with its low returns, such support will have to come from the public sector, governments and NGOs. They now have an interesting and important book to read first. Alternative Irrigation. The Promise of Runoff Agriculture CJ Barrow, Earthscan, 1999. 240 pp. ISBN 1 85383 496 3 GBP 15.95 E 25.40 Earthscan Publications Ltd 120 Pentonville Road London, N1 9JN, UK Fax: +44 20 7278 1142 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org