Harvesting water for agricultural, wildlife, and domestic uses
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation , 35 , 1980

Frasier, G.W.

WATER harvesting can be a source of water for a variety of purposes in arid and semiarid regions when common sources, such as streams, springs, or wells, fail. In addition to supplying drinking water for people, livestock, and wildlife, water-harvesting systems can provide supplemental water for growing food and fiber crops. Often the necessary water can be obtained without large expenditures of energy. The principles of water harvesting are not new. These techniques were used as early as 4500 B.C. by the people of Ur and others in the Middle East (9). In fact, re searchers have reconstructed water har vesting systems used for runoff farming in Israel's Negev Desert 4,000 years ago (4). American Indians used similar systems 700 to 900 years ago in the southwestern United States (11). In some parts of the world, precipitation collected from the roofs of houses provides a household water supply. However, development of central water supply systems for homes and large irrigation projects for agriculture have resulted in many water harvesting techniques being forgotten. Future demands for water may well necessi tate the rediscovery of some of these old practices.