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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 12: Posters

Paper 12.17

Use of the Technologies of Collection of Runoff Water in the Semi-Arid Region of the Brazilian Northeast

Nilton de Brito Cavalcanti, Carlos Alberto Vasconcelos de Oliveira, Luiza Teixeira de Lima Brito & Geraldo Milanez Resende
Embrapa Semi-Árido
Caixa Postal 23. 56.300-000 Petrolina, PE.


The scarcity of water resources throughout the semiarid region of Brazil's Northeast make it nearly impossible to either produce surplus crops or to keep a livestock of cattle, goats and sheep, usually the main source of income as well as savings of small farmers. To live in this region requires that farmers, particularly those living in dry areas, use some alternative technologies, mainly the catchment and storing of rainwater. Researching the application of these alternative technologies, we discovered that few farmers use any rainwater catchment technology.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the rainwater catchment and storage technologies of small farmers in five counties in the semiarid region. Our research was carried out between 1996 and 1998 in the counties of Simplicio Mendes (Piaui), Morada Nova (Ceara), Angicos (Rio Grande do Norte), Jeremoabo (Bahia) and Inaja (Pernambuco). In each county a random sample group of farmers was asked to answer a questionnaire.

A total of 179 farmers were asked if they use: 1)cisterns, 2) clay pits for supplement irrigation, 3) underground storage dams, 4) their own rainwater catchment systems and 5) reasons for not using any technologies.

The results obtained show that only 9,5% of the farmers use cisterns. And that 51,96% of the farmers not using them would have enough money to install them. No other technologies were used by any of the farmers. These results show the necessity for spreading the knowledge of these technologies among small farmers.

PDF of full document (8pp, 32kb)

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