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This manual has been written with the intention of providing technicians and extension workers with practical guidelines on the implementation of water harvesting schemes. However it will also be of interest to a wider audience, such as rural development specialists and planners.

The focus of the manual is on simple, field scale systems for improved production of crops, trees and rangeland species in drought prone areas. Water harvesting systems for water supply such as haffirs, ponds and rooftop tanks are not covered in this manual, nor are large-scale water spreading systems (spate irrigation).

Most of the systems outlined and experiences described are drawn from Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, the manual is also relevant to arid and semi-arid areas in other parts of the world where the basic problems - low and erratic rainfall, high rates of runoff, and unreliable food production are similar.

The manual provides the field worker with selection criteria and detailed technical designs for the various systems, as well as information on field layout and construction. This is the main part of the document - but the full range of information given is much wider.

Throughout, there has been an effort to keep the manual a practical working document, using tables, diagrams, charts and photographs as much as possible in place of text. It is hoped that the manual will serve as a useful field guide for the implementation of water harvesting schemes.

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