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'Webinars', or web-based seminars, are live online sessions. TheWaterChannel webinars are collaborative; the participants are able to communicate and discuss with the resource persons in real-time. They are free and open to all. If you would like to know more, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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About the webinar: 


Abraham Mehari Haile, Eyasu Yazew Hagos, Berry van den Pol


March 12, 2015 13:00 GMT


Rainwater for food security (Rain4food)
‘Rainwater for Food Security’ is a programme that sets an enabling environment for rainwater harvesting (RWH), in order to significantly increase food security. With help of the community on Rainwater Harvesting, it supports the development of a more unified global network of national and regional organisations, networks and professionals, working in or interested in rainwater harvesting. By bringing together these key-actors and sharing knowledge in multiple ways, the Rainwater for Food Security programme aims to achieve sustainable change in rainwater harvesting programmes.

Flood based farming systems
Flood based farming systems (FBFS) are extensive throughout Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia. It is estimated that FBFS cover 30 million hectares in sub-Saharan alone. Some of these agricultural systems come from ancestral agriculture practices.

FBFS cover a wide array of resource systems that depend on temporary floods in particular:

• Spate irrigation and flood water spreading from ephemeral rivers;
• Flood recession / flood rise systems, inundation canals and flood compartmentalization systems, centred on flood plains;
• Land depression systems (dambo, bas fond) based on temporary land inundation.

However Flood Based Farming Systems have been overlooked, if not misunderstood, by decision makers, agricultural experts and academic professionals. Literature related to the topic is sparse and in many cases out-dated.

Flood wells
The “flood wells” project implemented in Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia and Mozambique – with support of the Partners voor Water tested a surprisingly little known option for accessing groundwater in the flood plains – the shallow tubewell. Manually drilled shallow tubewells are developed under a range of mainly low-cost techniques – augering, sludging, jetting – using a wide range of material (from bamboo to iron). They occur in the millions in South Asia, but by and large are yet to make their imprint in Sub Saharan Africa. They are particularly suited to the flood plains: they can be capped and buried during the inundation period, and can be recovered and used as soon as the flood have receded, thus utilizing valuable production time.

The aim of the project of the Spate Irrigation Network, implemented by MetaMeta, UNESCO-IHE and PRACTICA Foundation, was to increase the productivity of marginally used floodplains by introducing flood wells. Flood wells are a low-cost package of manually drilled tube wells and micro pump-sets that can provide smallholder farmers with access to shallow groundwater.

In this webinar a short introduction on the Rainwater for Food Security programme will be given, where after Abraham Mehari Haile will introduce flood based farming systems. Eyasu Yazew Hagos will follow with flood based farming as part of a 5 year plan and a case of Tigray. At last, Berry van den Pol will discuss the potential of groundwater with tubewells in flood plains.

About the speakers

Abraham Mehari Haile (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) holds a PhD degree in Land and Water Development from the UNESCO-IHE Institute and Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He has 10 years of professional and research experience largely in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Tanzania, Switzerland, Spain, France, South Africa and the Netherlands.He has worked extensively at a field level, both practical and research on development and management of flood-based irrigation systems (spate and flood recession farming, flood plain irrigation and inundation canals) within the perspective of river basin resource management.

Eyasu Yazew Hagos (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) works for Mekelle University in Ethiopia as Associate Professor in Land and Water Development and Director of the Institute of Water and Environment. He holds a PhD in Land and Water Development from the UNESCO-IHE and Wageningen University. He has been and is engaged in various land and water development related research initiatives funded by different development partners. In addition, he is involved in consultancy and community services related to water resources development and management with e.a. strategy documents such as the Second Five Years Growth and Transformation Plan of Tigray, Ethiopia.

Berry van den Pol (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) has a background in Irrigation and Water management (MSc) at Wageningen University and Rural development at Montpellier SupAgro. He currently works for Practica Foundation (http://practica.org/) as a trainer and project engineer for manual well drilling projects in Ethiopia, Benin, Zambia and more. His particular focus is on business skills development with small technical enterprises.

Related Resources

Rudh Kohi: Turning Futile into Fertile
The potential for tubewells in flood plains 
Drilling a well in the Ethiopian Fogera Floodplain

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