Water-efficient gardens: Water is life

| November 28, 2016

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Recent issues of Barza Wire—as well as plenty of international media—have explored the many aspects of climate change and its effects on farmers. Our Script of the week focuses on one of the most critical issues associated with climate change—availability of water.

It is undeniable that water is essential to life on Earth. Without water, nothing can survive. As rainfall decreases, desertification spreads.

Much of East Africa is facing uncertain times. The changing climate means that rainfall patterns are becoming more unpredictable. Rainy seasons are becoming shorter and often more intense; heavy rains can damage houses and crops, and then several days or even weeks can pass before the next rain shower passes through. Drought is becoming more common, and crops and animals are increasingly water-stressed.

Farmers need to plan ahead. Before rain falls, farmers should consider how best to use the water that falls on their land. When farmers have systems that efficiently collect and use rainfall, it can mean the difference between good harvests and food insecurity.

The following script is based on interviews with farmers and agricultural experts in Tanzania. The interviews were conducted with practitioners of water conservation around Arusha and Shinyanga. The script offers advice on how best to plan water-efficient gardens and farming systems.

If you choose to use this script as inspiration for creating your own program, you could talk to farmers who use water-efficient gardening in your area and the experts who advise them. You might ask them:

Have rainfall patterns changed in recent years? If so, how?

Have changing rainfall patterns affected their farming practices?

Do farmers collect rainwater? What methods do they use?

How do farmers ensure that they use water efficiently?

How can farmers find the materials they need to collect water when it rains?