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Development of collector well gardens

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-02-12, 15:09 authored by Charles Batchelor, Chris Lovell, John Chilton, Isiah Mharapara
Communal areas of southern Zimbabwe illustrate the problems now facing people and the environment in many semi-arid parts of Africa. Prime constraints on sustainable development are the low and erratic rainfall and the limited availability of ground and surface water resources. Rainfed crop production provides the main source of staple foodstuffs. However, increasing population densities, all too frequent droughts and declining productivity of existing croplands have led to cultivation of more marginal terrain which is better suited to other, less intensive forms of land use. In areas where sufficient water resources are available, large irrigation schemes have been constructed. However, such schemes have been beset by a wide range of technical, institutional and social problems. It has also been difficult to reconcile such schemes with traditional farming practices. In contrast, experience in the region has shown that informal or garden irrigation can be economically viable and appropriate to households, especially for women farmers, for whom it is already a traditional component of the farming system. In 1988, a programme of research was started in southern Zimbabwe, the main objectives of which were to study the feasibility of using shallow crystalline basement aquifers as a source of water for small-scale irrigation and to compare and develop methods of low-cost, high efficiency irrigation which would be suitable for use on small irrigated gardens. This paper gives a brief description of some elements of this programme. More information can be found in Lovell et al (1996) and Murata et al (1995).


Funding for this research was provided primarily by the British Overseas Development Administration.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


BATCHELOR, C. ... et al, 1996. Development of collector well gardens. IN: Pickford, J. et al. (eds). Reaching the unreached - Challenges for the 21st century: Proceedings of the 22nd WEDC International Conference, New Delhi, India, 9-13 September 1996, pp.172-174.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


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