Rainfall variability is a key constraint to agricultural production and economic growth in many developing countries. This is likely to be exacerbated in many places as rainfall variability is amplified as a result of climate change. Water storage, in its various forms, provides a mechanism for dealing with variability which, if planned and managed correctly, increases water security, agricultural productivity and adaptive capacity.
- Water storage can make an important contribution to safeguarding livelihoods and reducing rural poverty.
- Ill-conceived water storage is a waste of financial resources and, rather than mitigate, may aggravate unpleasant climate change impacts.
- Systems that combine complementary storage options are likely to be more adaptable and acceptable than those based on a single storage type.
- More systematic planning and management is required to ensure ‘no regrets’ solutions.