By Christopher J Barrow
An creation to runoff agriculture - a sort of agricultural irrigation - this article describes how using floor and subsurface water, frequently ignored and wasted, allows either small farmers and advertisement agriculturists to enhance yields and the safety of harvest, even in harsh and distant environments. The textual content introduces the innovations and methods, in addition to the demanding situations and the potential for the an important process, that can give a contribution quite a bit to lowering land degradation and bettering conservation and sustainability.
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Extra resources for Alternative irrigation: the promise of runoff agriculture
People may have settled steep lands to avoid conflict or competition with others, to escape lowland diseases or climate, because they can develop a diversified livelihood strategy by exploiting different altitude zones, or for the reason that there is little other unsettled land available. Some of these steep lands have large and growing populations (the mountain areas of Rwanda may support over 800 persons per square kilometre — IFAD, 1992, p23) who need to adopt effective SWC and runoff agriculture.
These impacts should not be underestimated; there are too many examples of large numbers of people who have suffered socio-economic and health problems, of land degraded and biodiversity destroyed. For example, the Aral Sea bears testimony to ill-conceived irrigation development. In 1961 the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest inland waterbody, with rich fisheries and flourishing communities around it; by 1990 its volume had shrunk by 69 per cent and the water was badly contaminated by salts, pesticides and fertilizer from the return flows of cotton and rice irrigation in the southern Commonwealth of independent States (CIS, former USSR).
Investment in these strategies has been comparatively neglected; yet such strategies should: • cost less than large scale irrigation schemes; • help reduce urban migration by improving or sustaining rural livelihoods; • counter soil degradation; • cut dependency because it can use local materials and reduces the need for food import; • help recharge groundwater, reduce flood damage caused by uncontrolled runoff, improve regularity and quantity of streamflow; • help those seeking to conserve flora and fauna.