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Up-scaling of rainwater harvesting for crop production in the communal lands of the Modder River basin in South Africa: comparing upstream and downstream scenarios

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dc.contributor.author Woyessa, YE
dc.contributor.author Pretorius, E
dc.contributor.author Hensley, M
dc.contributor.author van Rensburg, LD
dc.contributor.author van Heerden, PS
dc.contributor.other Water Research Commission: Water SA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-01-18T08:19:13Z
dc.date.available 2016-01-18T08:19:13Z
dc.date.issued 2006-01-13
dc.date.issued 2006
dc.identifier.issn 0378-4738
dc.identifier.issn 1816-7950
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11462/692
dc.description Published Article en_US
dc.description.abstract The study area is the Upper and Middle Modder River basin situated in a semi-arid area of central South Africa. This is an important catchment because of the relatively large nearby towns of Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu. Crop production in the basin using conventional production techniques is currently not suitable due to marginal and erratic rainfall, and high evaporative demand, as well as low precipitation use efficiency on the clay and duplex soils caused by large runoff and evaporation losses. A labour-intensive in-field rain-water harvesting (IRWH) technique for crop production recently introduced into a part of the basin occupied by communal farmers has been shown to increase maize and sunflower yields by 30 to 50% compared to conventional tillage, making crop production utilising this technique a feasible proposition for these farmers. The area of land suitable for the IRWH in the basin is estimated to be 80 667 ha, of which 15 000 ha is located in the communal land. The two catchment management options compared in this paper are: • Allowing the 80 667 ha to remain under grassland and utilising the runoff downstream for irrigating maize • Utilising the 80 667 ha for maize production in the basin using the IRWH technique. Results showed that the expected maize production from the options shown above were 23 040t and 137 134t respectively. The large unproductive water losses during storage and conveyance to downstream use points are probably the main reason for this large difference in production. An economic analysis, which enabled the grazing benefit to be included in the first option, shows that the gross margin of this option, expressed as R/m3 of rain water utilized, could be expected to be between 0.0234 to 0.0254 under current conditions, of which irrigation contributed about 25% or less. The comparable value for the IRWH option was 0.0354. The second option is clearly shown to be the most preferable, with high socio-economic benefits for the communal farmers who are currently struggling to achieve sustainable livelihoods. en_US
dc.format.extent 444 819 bytes, 1 file
dc.format.mimetype Application/PDF
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Water Research Commission: Water SA
dc.relation.ispartofseries Water SA;Vol. 32 No. 2
dc.subject rain-water harvesting en_US
dc.subject catchment management en_US
dc.subject river basin en_US
dc.subject small-scale farming en_US
dc.title Up-scaling of rainwater harvesting for crop production in the communal lands of the Modder River basin in South Africa: comparing upstream and downstream scenarios en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.rights.holder Water SA

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