This study will critically assess the impacts of water harvesting techniques in relation to livelihood in the affected drought and flood prone areas.
Although rainfall constitutes a major resource for water, it is lost almost completely through direct evaporation or through uncontrolled runoff (Oweis et al., 1999). The appropriate choice of water harvesting technique depends on the amount of rainfall and its distribution, soil type and depth, land topography, and local socioeconomic factors, and therefore these systems tend to be very site specific. Different indigenous techniques and systems were developed in different parts of the world, and they are still referred to in the literature by their traditional names, among which are Haffir and Teru in Sudan (Oweis et al., 1999).
The increase in desertification of agricultural land through changing climatic conditions and exploitation of the natural resources is forcing farmers and agro-pastoralists to adapt to their changing surroundings. This has led to the spread of water harvesting techniques particularly those aimed at catching water in times of flood, in arresting the problem of pastoralist movement, hence, changing the livelihoods of the affected communities in drought and flood prone areas of Southern Sudan.
High inter-annual variability and erratic rainfall distribution in space and time has contributed to water-limiting conditions during the cropping season. For such areas with inadequate rainfall or runoff-susceptible land, carefully selected water conservation and harvesting techniques offer the potential to secure agricultural production and reduce the financial risks associated with crop failure.
It has been noted that the worldwide potential for the introduction of water harvesting techniques has not been fully assessed especially in the arid and semi-arid areas (Oweis and Prinz 1994). It has also been recognized that, while more efficient technologies, such as rainwater harvesting can improve the plight of the poor, the mere creation of optimum techniques are not enough. The donor community has put in a lot of efforts on the development of water harvesting techniques, an example is Pact Sudan's Water for Recovery and Peace Program (WRAPP) which is one of the most comprehensive water projects that has been operating in Southern Sudan to date. WRAPP programs tackle comprehensive issues affected by water access, such as conflict resolution, gender empowerment, livelihoods and health. Its activities are spread throughout all the states in Southern Sudan and the transitional areas of Abyei, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
This study aims at reporting on the available traditional and introduced water harvesting techniques in Southern Sudan and assessing their effects and impacts on livelihoods. To enhance economic development and improved livelihoods in Southern Sudan, improved access to potable water for humans and increased water access for crops and livestock is of paramount importance.
This study would provide a check for some of the existing water harvesting techniques, constraints in their adoption, and how they can be improved to enhance livelihood.