Farm level rainwater harvesting across different agro climatic regionsof India: Assessing performance and its determinants
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tRainwater harvesting and its utilization have a very important role to play in harnessing the productionpotential within dryland systems. This study assesses the performance of small rainwater harvestingstructures (farm-ponds) in 5 major rainfed states of India over the period 2009–2011 using data frommultiple sources and stakeholders. Rainwater which is harvested using structures of varying types andsizes was used for either supplemental irrigation or recharging open-wells. In many cases, the farm levelrainwater harvesting structures were highly effective for rainfed farming and had a multiplier effecton farm income. In some situations however, it was viewed by farmers as a waste of productive land.The use of farm ponds in Maharashtra, for example, resulted in a significant increase in farm produc-tivity (12–72%), cropping intensity and consequently farm income. In the Chittoor district of AndhraPradesh, farm pond water was profitably used for supplemental irrigation to mango plantations, vegeta-bles or other crops and animal enterprises with net returns estimated to be between US$ 120 and 320structure−1annum−1. Despite such examples, the adoption of the farm ponds was low, except in Maha-rashtra. A functional analysis of the reasons for high adoption of water harvesting structures indicatedthat factors such as technical support, customized design, level of farmer participation, age, existing own-ership of open wells, annual rainfall and household assets were the major determinants of performanceof farm-level rainwater harvesting structures. Based on this countrywide analysis, different policy andinstitutional options are proposed for promoting farm-level rainwater-harvesting for dryland agriculture.