One of the biggest headaches for a farmer is lack of water.

For farmers in arid and semi-arid areas, a lot of times they have to buy water for their crops making farming expensive.

Areas in Mandera such as Takaba and Banisa, farmers have come up with techniques to harvest water and make the most out of it when the rains hit.

Even in not so dry areas, it is advisable to harvest and store rain water for future use.

Mohammed Mahamud is the owner of Baskorme Earth pan Irrigation project in Mandera, since the area is prone to water shortages due to its geographical location, he has built a water harvesting system when he harvests rain water in different forms.

To ensure this works there are things that need to be considered.

Catching water from your roof.


Ensure your home is fitted with a guttering system around the edge of the roof, for harvesting, and a downspout that will carry the water to the ground.

Ensure that all the gutters are clear and channeling water as they should with the system.

“Remove any leaves or debris that may prevent water from flowing into the system,” said Mahamud.


Choose how and where you would like to store the water, whether in a tank or underground.

You can direct water into a tank or a rain barrel.

A storage water tank or a barrel with a tap on the lower part is handy, as it will give you easy access, as you collect.

“If you can install a first flush diverter, do so to prevent debris from entering the tank,” said Mahamud.

Storing water in a pond or pan  

Another way you to store rain water is in a pond, pan or reservoir. Creating a body of water, however small, in your garden can be a wonderful idea.

Pans are ponds dug in the ground, usually two to four metres deep. Cover the pond with a plastic paper or cement it to ensure the water is cleaner.

Storing larger amounts of rainwater on site can be a great idea for areas where seasonal droughts are prevalent. The pond or reservoir can be an emergency back-up water supply.

The size of your pond or pan will depend the size of the land.

A pond or reservoir can also be a good emergency measure in areas where there are increasingly frequent wildfires. In a wildfire, it could be lifesaving to have a body of water for emergency use close at hand.

According to Mahamud, a standing body of water can be a useful thing.

“It can attract wildlife which help in creating a natural balance. Attracting wildlife will help promote biodiversity and in turn improve resilience of the ecosystem,” he said.

Underground storage

This is actually a pond or water pan that is covered. These can also be used to store ground and flooding waters.

“If your area is prone to floods, this could come in handy. Some areas in Mandera flood when it rains, so we take advantage,” said Mahamud.

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Water Harvesting