IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Review and quantitative assessment of ex situ household rainwater harvesting systems in Ethiopia


  • Moges, Girma
  • Hengsdijk, H.
  • Jansen, H.C.


Ex situ household rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems have been introduced at a large scale in Ethiopia to increase the water availability for smallholders through supplementary irrigation. The first objective of this paper is to review the performance of these systems in Ethiopia based on various assessment studies. The second objective is to provide quantitative biophysical and socio-economic analyses of ex situ household RWH systems contributing to the better understanding of their performance and the identification of options to improve their performance. Uptake of RWH systems by smallholders in Ethiopia is limited and the available information suggests that this is associated among others with poor planning and implementation, poorly functioning input and output markets and the lack of farmers' skills to use these systems effectively. Our quantitative meta-analyses illustrate that water availability of three studied RWH systems is low in relation to crop water needs, particularly for maize. The variation in area that can be irrigated across years exposes users of RWH systems to considerable risks as the availability of irrigation water depends on prevailing rainfall conditions. The area that can be irrigated varies greatly depending on amount and distribution of rainfall, type of RWH system and crop type. The economics of onion (cash crop) are promising only for plastic lined RWH systems, but those for maize are unfavourable independent of the studied RWH systems. Associated labour requirements especially for water lifting and application are high and possibly constraining the sustainable use of RWH systems. The potential of ex situ household RWH systems to increase agricultural production and income is site-specific depending on biophysical, institutional and socio-economic conditions, and depends on household-specific conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Moges, Girma & Hengsdijk, H. & Jansen, H.C., 2011. "Review and quantitative assessment of ex situ household rainwater harvesting systems in Ethiopia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(8), pages 1215-1227, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:8:p:1215-1227

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruerd Ruben & Gideon Kruseman & Arie Kuyvenhoven, 2006. "Strategies for sustainable intensification in East African highlands: labor use and input efficiency," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 167-181, March.
    2. Oweis, T. & Hachum, A. & Kijne, J., 1999. "Water harvesting and supplemental irrigation for improved water use efficiency in dry areas," IWMI Books, Reports H024198, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Anderson, Jock R., 1992. "Difficulties in African agricultural systems enhancement? Ten hypotheses," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 387-409.
    4. Ngigi, Stephen N. & Savenije, Hubert H.G. & Thome, Josephine N. & Rockstrom, Johan & de Vries, F.W.T. Penning, 2005. "Agro-hydrological evaluation of on-farm rainwater storage systems for supplemental irrigation in Laikipia district, Kenya," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 21-41, April.
    5. Awulachew, Seleshi Bekele & Merrey, Douglas & Kamara, Abdul & van Koppen, Barbara & Penning de Vries, Frits & Boelee, Eline, 2005. "Experiences and opportunities for promoting small-scale/micro irrigation and rainwater harvesting for food security in Ethiopia," IWMI Working Papers H038044, International Water Management Institute.
    6. Geerts, Sam & Raes, Dirk, 2009. "Deficit irrigation as an on-farm strategy to maximize crop water productivity in dry areas," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(9), pages 1275-1284, September.
    7. Amsalu, Aklilu & de Graaff, Jan, 2007. "Determinants of adoption and continued use of stone terraces for soil and water conservation in an Ethiopian highland watershed," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 294-302, March.
    8. Mushtaq, Shahbaz & Dawe, David & Hafeez, Mohsin, 2007. "Economic evaluation of small multi-purpose ponds in the Zhanghe irrigation system, China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-3), pages 61-70, July.
    9. Goel, A.K. & Kumar, R., 2005. "Economic analysis of water harvesting in a mountainous watershed in India," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 257-266, February.
    10. Fox, P. & Rockstrom, J. & Barron, J., 2005. "Risk analysis and economic viability of water harvesting for supplemental irrigation in semi-arid Burkina Faso and Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 231-250, March.
    11. Barron, Jennie & Okwach, George, 2005. "Run-off water harvesting for dry spell mitigation in maize (Zea mays L.): results from on-farm research in semi-arid Kenya," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-21, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Iglesias, Ana & Garrote, Luis, 2015. "Adaptation strategies for agricultural water management under climate change in Europe," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 113-124.
    2. Assefa, Shibeshi & Biazin, Birhanu & Muluneh, Alemayehu & Yimer, Fantaw & Haileslassie, Amare, 2016. "Rainwater harvesting for supplemental irrigation of onions in the southern dry lands of Ethiopia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 325-334.
    3. Rishi Ram Kattel, "undated". "Rainwater Harvesting and Rural Livelihoods in Nepal," Working papers 102, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    4. Bouma, Jetske A. & Hegde, Seema S. & Lasage, Ralph, 2016. "Assessing the returns to water harvesting: A meta-analysis," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 100-109.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:8:p:1215-1227. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.