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The rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques most commonly practised in Ethiopia today are run-off irrigation (run-off farming), flood spreading (spate irrigation), in situ water harvesting (terracing, ridges, micro-basins, etc.) and roof water harvesting. While there are abundant examples and practical experiences of rainwater harvesting experience in Ethiopia, the momentum gained so far on the expansion and application of modern RWH for irrigation is below the country’s potential and needs. The major identified bottlenecks for rapid adoption of RWH for agricultural purpose in Ethiopia are high cost of construction of structures compared to income accrued as a result of the adoption of the technology; lack of trust (awareness) on the contribution of the technology; incompatibility of the technology with local farming system; lack of appropriate training how to construct, use and maintain structures; improper planning, implementation and promotion of the technology by development agents/experts; and lack of commitment to promote the technology compared with other agricultural extension activities. Large numbers of RWH and SSI technologies are already introduced in the country. Their efficiency, effectiveness, acceptance and impacts on the livelihood, however, vary considerably from place to place. An enabling environment and governmental support are essential for spreading the concept and implementation of rainwater harvesting systems on a large scale. Mainstreaming in policy agendas, awareness raising, capacity building and technical exchange are all important for enhancing the use of rainwater harvesting systems. Furthermore, land use and land ownership have to be taken into account, as well as suitable technology and storage medium. As some systems require high maintenance costs, it is important that rainwater harvesting options are made attractive for farmers themselves to invest in these technologies.
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- Fostering the Use of Rainwater for Off-Season Small-Scale Irrigation in Arid and Semi-arid Areas of Ethiopia