How can rainwater harvesting contribute to living with droughts and climate change in semi-arid Brazil?
In the last 20 years, in semi-arid Brazil, rural communities have begun to use water management technologies for households, in agriculture, livestock raising, and the environment, such as cisterns, subsurface dams, conservation methods of soil humidity, and aquifer recharge. These communities were also prepared to deal successfully with the severe drought from 2011 to 2013. To contribute to living with the challenge of droughts and climate change in the future, these experiences are multiplied all over semi-arid Brazil and included in an overall management programme with a sustainable comprehensive structure. The so-called principles of living with the semi-arid climate are summarized into different guidelines for sustainable livelihood and production: access to water and sufficient land area; rainwater harvesting to provide water security to households and communities; preservation, recovering, and management of drought-resistant vegetation; emphases on raising of small and medium-sized livestock and water and forage storage; appropriate crop selection and sustainable extraction, processing and marketing of crop products; and capacity building of the people. All these initiatives should contribute to bringing the discussion about the ‘National Policy on Living with the Semi-arid Conditions’ to the National Congress of Brazil.