Sharing knowledge on the use and conservation of water for food production

Catch, Store and Use Water

This page is designed to help you find the information you need about any rainwater harvesting and conservation activity or practice that you might be interested in.

There are several categories to help you find the tutorials best suited to your farm.

Some of them refer to a type of skill you might be looking to learn:

Types of skills

General Skills: Activities or practices that are generally used to help prepare for the main RWH&C practices

Catching, Reducing Loss and Holding Rainwater: Activities or practices that help us bring more rainwater into our cropping areas and hold it in the soil for longer

Storing Rainwater: Activities or practices that help us store rainwater for later use

Using Water: Watering (Irrigation) Practices: Activities or practices that help us use the water we have stored more efficiently

Some categories refer to the scale of faming you are interested in or working in. We have divided farm scales into three main categories:

Subsistence level production

This is the smallest scale band and includes homestead gardens and shared community gardens, with the focus very much on production for own use, although with potential for sharing, barter, and limited sales. Can include small numbers of small livestock. The production sites are either attached to or quite close to the farmers’ (or gardeners’) homes. Unlikely to involve employment of farm workers from outside the family.  Low input costs, with little or no financial income. Areas involved usually less than 1ha, and can be just a backyard garden.

Small-scale commercial production

This mid-scale band includes larger shared community/co-operative gardens, and dedicated arable plots, with the focus on production for income generation, with some for own use, sharing and bartering. Generally producing fresh produce, although with potential for processing and value-adding. Supplying local and nearby, and potentially some national markets. Can include small livestock production. Production areas may be some distance from the farmers’ homes. May involve employment of workers from outside the family. Increased input costs with generation of some income. Generally areas of 1 – 2ha.

Full commercial arable production, differing levels of (small and large) livestock production

Focussed on production for income generation with little, if any, for own consumption. Some fresh produce, but also produce grown for mass processing. This can include production of crops not consumed locally, for national or international markets. Production areas may be some distance from the farmers’ homes. Almost invariably involving employment of workers from outside the family. Relatively high input costs, producing a reasonable income. Generally areas of more than 2ha.

Each skills tutorial consists of a diagram, it’s own unique downloadable handout and info card summary and page numbers for relevant resoures to download.

Info cards summarise some of the key information in the table, and

include a list ‘other factors’, where you will find an indication of the levels of technology; the levels of skills and understanding needed; the levels of cost required; and the levels of maintenance needed.

These are defined as:

Technologies – basic gardening equipment
Skills and understanding – as required for basic gardening
Cost R0 – R1000
Maintenance – none, one or two days a year, simple repairs
Technologies – simple testing or measuring kits, tanks, pipes
Skills and understanding – as required for small-scale business
Cost R1000 – R10 000
Maintenance – regular but infrequent checking/repair, 7 – 10 days/year, technical repairs
Technologies – specialised equipment (tractors, mechanical pumps, laboratories etc.)
Skills and understanding – as required for professional specialists
Cost >R10, 000
Maintenance – essential regular and frequent checking and repair, up to 50 days/year, complex technical repairs
Posters – These show in the form of photographs with some text the main stages in the development of any activity or practice.
Handouts – These provide considerably more information and guidance for each of the activities or practices.

Please select a category and an information pack below: