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1 People's priorities

Before selecting a specific technique, due consideration must be given to the social and cultural aspects prevailing in the area of concern as they are paramount and will affect the success or failure of the technique implemented. This is particularly important in the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa and may help to explain the failure of so many projects that did not take into account the people's priorities. In arid and semi-arid Africa, most of the population has experienced basic subsistence regimes which resulted over the centuries in setting priorities for survival. Until all higher priorities have been satisfied, no lower priority activities can be effectively undertaken. In Chapter 7 of this Manual, socio-economic aspects are discussed. Along with checking the sequence of priorities, the planner must also consider alternate sources of water. These must be compared with water harvesting in cost and in the risk involved. The comparison must take into account the water quality required, operational and maintenance considerations as well as the initial cost. Where alternate water is of better quality, is cheaper to develop, easier to obtain or involves less risk, it should be given priority. An example of this is the development of springs or shallow wells for microscale irrigation, prior to water harvesting.
5.1.2 Basic technical criteria

A water harvesting scheme will only be sustainable if it fits into the socioeconomic context of the area as described in the previous chapter and also fulfills a number of basic technical criteria. Figure 16 contains a flowchart with the basic technical selection criteria for the different water harvesting techniques. SLOPE: The ground slope is a key limiting factor to water harvesting. Water harvesting is not recommended for areas where slopes are greater than 5% due to uneven distribution of run-off and large quantities of earthwork required which is not economical. SOILS: Should have the main attributes of soils which are suitable for irrigation: they should be deep, not be saline or sodic and ideally possess inherent fertility. A serious limitation for the application of water harvesting

are soils with a sandy texture. If the infiltration rate is higher than the rainfall intensity, no runoff will occur. COSTS: The quantities of earth/stonework involved in construction directly affects the cost of a scheme or, if it is implemented on a self help basis, indicates how labour intensive its construction will be. Figure 16 System selection Table 16 can be used as a quick reference to check the quantity of necessary earthworks required for different systems. A more quantified breakdown is given in the following sections where each system is described in detail. 5.2 Negarim microcatchments

5.2.1 Background 5.2.2 Technical details 5.2.3 Layout and construction 5.2.4 Maintenance 5.2.5 Husbandry 5.2.6 Socio-economic considerations

5.2.1 Background

Negarim microcatchments are diamond-shaped basins surrounded by small earth bunds with an infiltration pit in the lowest corner of each. Runoff is collected from within the basin and stored in the infiltration pit. Microcatchments are mainly used for growing trees or bushes. This technique is appropriate for small-scale tree planting in any area which has a moisture deficit. Besides harvesting water for the trees, it simultaneously conserves soil. Negarim microcatchments are neat and precise, and relatively easy to construct. Table 16 - EARTHWORK/STONEWORK FOR VARIOUS WATER HARVESTING SYSTEMS
Earthwork (m³/ha treated) Stonework (m3/ha

treated) System Negarim Contour Semi Contour Trapezoidal Water Contour Permeable Name microcatchments bunds circular ridges bunds spreading stone rock and (trees) (trees) bunds (crops) (crops) bunds bunds dams(crops) Number (grass) (crops) (crops) Slope (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (8) (6) (7) % 0.5 500 240 105 480 370 305 40 70 1.0 500 360 105 480 670 455 40 140 1.5 500 360 105 480 970 N/R* 40 208 2.0 500 360 210 480 N/R* N/R* 55 280 5.0 835 360 210 480 N/R* N/R* 55 N/R*

* Not recommended Notes 1. Typical dimensions are assumed for each system: for greater detail see relevant chapters. 2. For microcatchment systems (1, 2, 3 and 4), the whole area covered (cultivated and within-field catchment) is taken as "treated". 3. Labour rates for earthworks: Larger structures (e.g. trapezoidal bunds) may take 50% more labour per unit volume of earthworks than smaller structures (e.g. Negarim microcatchments) because of increased earthmoving required. Typical rates per person/day range from 1.0 to 3.0 m3. 4. Labour rates for stoneworks: Typical labour rates achieved are 0.5 m3 per person/day for construction. Transport of stone increases this figure considerably. Plate 5 Negarim microcatchment Although the first reports of such microcatchments are from southern Tunisia (Pacey and Cullis, 1986) the technique has been developed in the Negev desert of Israel. The word "Negarim" is derived from the Hebrew word for runoff - "Neger". Negarim microcatchments are the most well known form of all water harvesting systems. Israel has the most widespread and best developed Negarim microcatchments, mostly located on research farms in the Negev Desert, where rainfall is as low as 100-150 mm per annum. However the technique,

Slopes: from flat up to 5. Limitations While Negarim microcatchments are well suited for hand construction.0%. Soils: should be at least 1. it is not possible to operate and cultivate with machines between the tree lines. Suitability Negarim microcatchments are mainly used for tree growing in arid and semi-arid areas. is widely used in other semi-arid and arid areas.5 m but preferably 2 m deep in order to ensure adequate root development and storage of the water harvested. The shape of each unit is normally square.2 Technical details i. Once the trees are planted. Figure 17 Negarim microcatchments . more usually.2.field layout . especially in North and Sub-Saharan Africa Because it is a well-proven technique. they cannot easily be mechanized. Rainfall: can be as low as 150 mm per annum. it is often one of the first to be tested by new projects. Microcatchment size The area of each unit is either determined on the basis of a calculation of the plant (tree) water requirement (see Chapter 4) or. iii. but the appearance from above is of a network of diamond shapes with infiltration pits in the lowest corners (Figure 17). ii.and variations of it. 5. an estimate of this. Overall configuration Each microcatchment consists of a catchment area and an infiltration pit (cultivated area). iv.if uneven a block of microcatchments should be subdivided. Topography: need not be even .

Excavation/total bund volume remain constant for a given microcatchment size. . particularly when more than one tree will be grown within one unit.Size of microcatchments (per unit) normally range between 10 m2 and 100 m2 depending on the specie of tree to be planted but larger sizes are also feasible. BUND HEIGHTS (cm) ON HIGHER GROUND SLOPES Size Unit Microcatchment (m2) 3x3 4x4 5X5 6X6 8X8 10X12 12X12 15 X 15 Ground slope 2% 3% 4% 5% even bund height of 25 cm 30 30 35 35 45 35 45 55 30 45 55 35 50 not recommended 45 Note: These heights define the maximum height of the bund (below the pit). Table 17.

QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORKS FOR NEGARIM MICROCATCHMENTS (1) (2) (3) Size Unit Size Ground Slopes Microcatchment (m2) Infiltration Pit Suitable for 25 cm (m) Bund Sides (x) Area Sides. vi. Negarim microcatchment: details for 0. Table 18. A maximum depth of 40 cm should not be exceeded in order to avoid water losses through deep percolation and to reduce the workload for excavation.5 m3 per 100 m length of ditch will be needed. Size of infiltration pit Table 18 presents recommended values for pit dimensions.v. the bund height near the infiltration pit must be increased. vii. When a diversion ditch is required additional earthworks of 62.0%. It is recommended to construct bunds with a height of at least 25 cm in order to avoid the risk of overtopping and subsequent damage. Units Earthworks Earthwork Per Per ha m³/ha Unit** (m2) . Whenever possible. Quantities of Earthworks Table 18 further gives required quantities of earthworks for different layouts. Table 17 gives recommended figures for different sizes and ground slopes. the bunds should be provided with a grass cover since this is the best protection against erosion.(y) Height* (4) (5) (6) [ Volume No. Where the ground slope exceeds 2. Excavated soil from the pit should be used for construction of the bunds. Quantities per unit include only the infiltration pit and two sides of the catchment.25 m bund size (for dimensions x and y see Table 18) The top of the bund should be at least 25 cm wide and side slopes should be at least in the range of 1:1 in order to reduce soil erosion during rainstorms. Design of bunds The bund height is primarily dependent on the prevailing ground slope and the selected size of the micro-catchment. Figure 18. while the other two bunds are included in the microcatchment above.

75 1.9 x 0.5 x 2. The advantage is that surplus water can flow around the tips of the bunds. Above these gradients the bund should be constructed relativelyhigher at the bottom (below the pit) and lower upslope.4 x 1.00 2.50 2. and for small numbers of trees around homesteads.50 1110 625 400 275 155 100 70 45 835 625 500 415 310 250 230 160 * These ground slopes allow construction of a bund of 25 cm height throughout its length. the storage capacity is less than that of a closed system.4 1.0 x 0. however.0 x 3.4 2.3mx3m=9m 4 m x 4 m = 16 m2 5 m x 5 m = 25 m2 6 m x 6 m = 36 m2 8 m x 8 m = 64 m2 10 m x 10 m = 100 m2 12 m x 12 m = 144 m2 15 m x 15 m = 225 m2 2 Depth 1.25 1.2 x 0.4 3. viii.4 2. These types of bunds are particularly useful on broken terrain. Figure 19. Table 17 gives the height of the bund below the pit for given microcatchment sizes.8 x 0.50 3.25 3. Design Variations A common variation is to build microcatchments as single.2 x 2.5 m3 for each 100 metre length). "V"-shaped microcatchments .4 2.4 1. open-ended structures in "V" or semi-circular shape (see Figure 19). Does not include earthworks required for diversion ditch (which is 62.8 x 1.8 x 2.4 x 0.8 x 0.6 x 1.6 x 0.5 x 0.00 1. ** Calculation of earthworks per unit includes only two of the sides around the catchment: the other two sides are included in the microcatchment above.4 1.9 x 1.4 up to 5% up to 4% up to 3% up to 3% up to 2% up to 1% up to 1% up to 1% 0.

Table 19 gives the corresponding distance between a-b for different catchment sizes. Step Two By means of a tape measure.2. The distance between the tips (a-b) depends on the selected catchment size. The first line. separate smaller blocks of microcatchments should be considered.5. at the top of the block is marked (see Figure 20).b (m) (m) . the tips of the bunds are now marked along the "straightened contour". If the topography is very uneven. This can be done by using a line level or a water tube level (see appendix). The first line will be open-ended. Since natural contours are often not smooth. Table 19.3 Layout and construction Step one The first step is to find a contour line. it will be necessary to even out the contours so that finally a straight line is obtained. DISTANCE BETWEEN BLINDS IN RELATION TO CATCHMENT SIZE Microcatchment dimension Distance a .

Step Four The next row of microcatchments can now be staked out.1 Step Three A piece of string as long as the side length of the catchment (5 m for a 5 m x 5 m microcatchment) is held at one tip (a) and a second string of the same length at the other tip (b). etc. Negarim microcatchment: layout technique Step Five . Figure 20. When the second row of microcatchments has been marked. This procedure will be repeated until all bund alignments in the first row have been determined. The apex is now marked with a peg and the catchment sides (a-c) and (b-c) marked on the ground alongside the strings with a hoe.5 11.3x3 4x4 5x5 6x6 8x8 10x10 4.7 7.2 5. The apexes of the bunds of the upper row will be the tips for the second row and the corresponding apexed will be found according to Step 3.3 14. repeat the same procedure for the third row. with a first row which is open at the upslope end. The final result will be a block of diamond-shaped microcatchments.1 8. They will exactly meet at the apex (c).

Figure 22. Diversion ditch . Before compaction.leaving a small step towards the back on which the seedling will be planted (see Figure 21). The diversion ditch should be constructed first to prevent damage in case a rainstorm occurs during construction of the microcatchments.The size of the infiltration put (dimension to be taken from Table 18) is staked out and the pit is excavated . a string should be fixed at the beginning and the end of each bund alignment and be adjusted above ground according to the selected bund height. The soil is deposited downslope. The bunds should then be constructed in two layers. The excavated material from the pit is used to form the bund. the area within the microcatchments should be cleared of all vegetation.25% slope and in most cases a depth of 50 cm and a width of 1. Compaction may be done by foot or with a barrel filled with sand or water. The diversion ditch should be aligned in a 0.5 m will be sufficient. Figure 21. The bunds should be compacted during construction. Step Seven A diversion ditch should be provided above the block of microcatchments if there is a risk of damage by runoff from upslope of the block.0-1. the soil should be wetted wherever possible. To ensure a uniform height of the bund. Infiltration pit with planting step Step Six Before constructing the bunds.

The site should be inspected after each significant rainfall as breakages can have a "domino" effect if left unrepaired. .5 Husbandry Tree seedlings of at least 30 cm height should be planted immediately after the first rain of the season. Planting site for seedling Manure or compost should be applied to the planting pit to improve fertility and water-holding capacity. If grasses and herbs are allowed to develop in the catchment area. seeds can be planted in the bottom of the pit (which would survive even in a dry year) and one on a step at the back of the pit. Figure 23. the fodder obtained gives a rapid return to the investment in construction.2. Regular weeding is necessary in the vicinity of the planting pit.4 Maintenance Maintenance will be required for repair of damages to bunds. 5. the runoff will be reduced to some extent. If both plants survive.2.5. This eliminates the cost of a nursery. the weaker can be removed after the beginning of the second season. however. It is recommended that two seedlings are planted in each microcatchment . which may occur if storms are heavy soon after construction when the bunds are not yet fully consolidated. For some species.

The findings were encouraging.5 Husbandry 5. India Jujuba (Ziziphus mauritiana) is the best suited fruit tree for the arid areas of India.3. bearing in mind that one person-day is required to build (on average) two units.5% slopes a 72 m catchment area per tree was sufficient to obtain excellent fruit yields.2 Technical details 5.3.3. In the case of multipurpose trees in arid/semi-arid areas. 5.3 Contour bunds for trees 5. It is not a cheap technique.3. or around homesteads where a few open-ended "V" shaped microcatchments provide shade or support amenity trees.6 Socio-economic factors . It is essential that the costs are balanced against the potential benefits. PROFILE: Negarim Microcatchments in Rajasthan.4 Maintenance 5. Growth and fruit production were significantly improved by microcatchment techniques. Runoff coefficients increased over years due to a soil crust formed over the microcatchment surface. (1986).3 Layout and construction 5. but even there the returns on investment are not always positive. On a 5% slope the size could be reduced to 54 m2 because of the increased runoff.1 Background 5. Source: Sharma et al. for several years the main benefit will be the soil conservation effect and grass for fodder until the trees become productive. and costs per unit rise considerably as the microcatchment size increases. Rajasthan.3.5. has carried-out experiments to investigate the effect of microcatchments on fruit production.3.2. Negarim microcatchments are appropriate both in village afforestation blocks. The Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) at Jodhpur. On 0.6 Socio-economic considerations Negarim microcatchments have been developed in Israel for the production of fruit trees. The plum-sized fruits are delicious and a rich source of vitamins.

. this system is more economical than Negarim microcatchment. As its name indicates. Whether mechanized or not. from semi-arid to arid areas.2 Technical details i. and by provision of small earth ties the system is divided into individual microcatchments.3. As with other forms of microcatchment water harvesting techniques. A second advantage of contour bunds is their suitability to the cultivation of crops or fodder between the bunds.750 mm. Figure 24 Contour bunds for trees 5.since less earth has to be moved. at close spacing.3.5. Suitability Contour bunds for tree planting can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 200 . and when designed correctly. Examples of its application come from Baringo District. the bunds follow the contour. Construction can be mechanized and the technique is therefore suitable for implementation on a larger scale.1 Background Contour bunds for trees are a simplified form of microcatchments. Contour bunding for tree planting is not yet as common as Negarim microcatchments. particularly for large scale implementation on even land . Kenya. the yield of runoff is high. there is no loss of runoff out of the system.

the system is more flexible. ii. Base width must be at least 75 cm. The . The bunds are formed with soil excavated from an adjacent parallel furrow on their upslope side. v. Infiltration pits are excavated in the junction between ties and bunds. Common sizes of microcatchments are around 10 -50 m2 for each tree. iii. but are in the order of 20 .0%. because the microcatchment size can be easily altered by adding or removing crossties within the fixed spacing of the bunds. earth bunds approximately on the contour at a spacing of between 5 and 10 metres.5 m and preferably 2 m deep to ensure adequate root development and water storage. Slopes: from flat up to 5. Small earth ties perpendicular to the bund on the upslope side subdivide the system into microcatchments. Overall Configuration The overall layout consists of a series of parallel. Contour bunds for trees: field layout iv. As bunds are often made by machine the actual shape of the bund depends on the type of machine. Topography: must be even. Limitations Contour bunds are not suitable for uneven or eroded land as overtopping of excess water with subsequent breakage may occur at low spots. or almost parallel. A diversion ditch protects the system where necessary.40 cm depending on the prevailing slope. Bund and Infiltration Pit Design Bund heights vary. However. Unit Microcatchment Size The size of microcatchment per tree is estimated in the same way as for Negarim microcatchments. without gullies or rills.Soils: Must be at least 1. Figure 25. It is recommended that the bund should not be less than 25 cm in height. whether for example a disc plough or a motor grader is used.

Quantities of Earthwork Table 20 gives quantities of earthworks required for various layouts of contour bunds. A pit size of 80 cm x 80 cm and 40 cm deep is usually sufficient.5 m spacing or 5 metre bund-spacing with ties at 5 m spacing.configuration of the furrow upslope of the bund depends on the method of construction. The bund height assumed is 25 cm with 75 cm base width. Figure 26. It is recommended to provide 10 m spacing between the bunds on slopes of up to 0. The exact size of each microcatchment is thus defined. Bund dimensions Figure 28. QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORKS .5% and 5 m on steeper slopes. Infiltration pit and planting sites vi. This corresponds to 10 metre bund spacing with ties at 2. The pit is excavated in the junction of the bund and the cross-tie. Cross-ties should be at least 2 metres long at a spacing of 2 to 10 metres. A common size of microcatchment for multipurpose trees is 25 m2. Microcatchment unit Bunds should be spaced at either 5 m or 10 m apart. Excavated soil from the infiltration pit is used to form the ties. Figure 27. Table 20.

Where available.5 metres apart. Compaction of the bunds is recommended. When disc ploughs are used. contours need only be staked out approximately every 50 metres. such as a line level or a water tube level (see appendix).9 1. The real contour should be smoothed to a gentle curve.5% and 5 m for steeper slopes. When no machines are available. As contour bunds are implemented on even land. An infiltration pit of 80 cm x 80 cm and 40 cm deep is dug in the furrow above the bund. this should be done by foot or with a barrel filled with sand.5 0.6 0. a reversible plough is preferred because furrows can be ploughed consecutively in both directions. Water collected in the furrow will then drain into the pit and . Step Three The catchment size required for each seedling determines the spacing between cross-ties. As recommended under "bund design" the bunds should be set at a spacing of 10 m for slopes up to 0.3 Layout and construction Step One The contour is determined by means of a simple surveying instrument.9 No. For example where a 25 m2 catchment area is required and bunds are 10 metres apart the cross-ties will be 2.5m 5m Area (m2) 10 25 50 25 50 Volume Earthworks per Unit (m3) 0. a single disc (with the remaining one or two removed) forms an adequate bund.3. Cross-ties are made by hand.5 0. Bunds may become slightly wider apart at one end to accommodate any change in the contour. Step Two The alignment of each bund should be marked on the ground before construction starts. Units per ha Earthworks m3/ha 1000 400 200 400 200 500 360 300 240 180 5.Size Unit Microcatchment Bund spacing 5m 5m 5m 10m 10m Tie spacing 2m 5m 10m 2. the adjacent seedling. The earth should be excavated from inside the system and the contour bunds must be joined up with the lateral bund. 75 cm base width and 25 cm height. should be planted immediately after the first runoff has been harvested. The diversion ditch should be constructed before the contour bunds are built to prevent damage if rainstorms occur during construction. Tree seedlings. certain differences. It is advisable to plant . Damage is frequently caused if animals invade the plots. Grass should be allowed to develop on the bunds. The cross-tie extends upslope from the main bund at an angle of 90° to the main bund.5 Husbandry The majority of the husbandry factors noted under Negarim microcatchments also apply to this system: there are.1. however.4 Maintenance As with Negarim microcatchments. at least 30 cm should be left between the cross-tie and the pit to allow sufficient space for planting the seedling. The diversion ditch is aligned on a 0. a lateral bund of 25 . 5.25% slope and a common dimension is 50 cm deep and 1 . with the soil piled downslope.5 m wide. of at least 30 cm height. Step Five A diversion ditch should be provided above the scheme if there is a risk of damage by runoff from outside the block. The seedlings are planted in the space between the infiltration pit and the cross-tie. thus assisting consolidation with their roots. It is essential that any breaches -which are unlikely unless the scheme crosses existing rills .30 cm height is built to prevent loss of runoff out of the system. maintenance will in most cases be limited to repair of damage to bunds early in the first season. The excavated material is sufficient to form a cross-tie of 2 m length.are repaired immediately and the repaired section compacted. Step Four At each side of the block. 5.3.

an extra seedling in the bottom of the pit for the eventuality of a very dry year. Manure or compost can be added to the planting pit to improve fertility and water holding capacity. One important advantage of contour bunds for tree establishment is that oxen or mechanized cultivation can take place between the bunds, allowing crops or fodder to be produced before the trees become productive. However, this has the disadvantage of reducing the amount of runoff reaching the trees.
5.3.6 Socio-economic factors

Contour bunds for trees are mainly made by machine; costs of bund construction can be relatively low and implementation fast, especially where plots are large and even and the kind of mechanization well adapted. However, as with all mechanization in areas with limited resources, there is a question mark about future sustainability. Experience has shown that very often the machines come abruptly to a halt when the project itself ends. Another aspect that must be addressed is the management after the scheme has been established (which is usually done under the auspices of a development project). This is an issue which has to be seriously considered during the planning phase. Management of a large afforestation block by the local community is in most cases a new challenge and failure or success will depend on acceptance of the technique by the rural population.
PROFILE: Contour Bunds for Trees in Baringo, Kenya The plains surrounding Lake Baringo in Kenya's semi-arid north are extensive but denuded of trees. Two major problems are observed here: the continuing erosion of the potentially fertile land by runoff and wind, and the increasing lack of fuelwood and fodder. The Baringo "Fuel and Fodder Project" became operational in 1982 and developed the technique of contour bunding for tree planting using hired motor-graders for construction. 130 hectares, in blocks of about 10 ha in size and surrounded by solar-powered electric fences, were implemented up to 1987. Common species planted were Acacia spp., Prosposis spp., and Combretum aculeatum. While performance has not always been consistent, establishment and growth of the trees are generally good. An interesting development is the growing importance attached by the people and the project authorities to the production of grass within the plots as a by-product. To avoid damage to the bunds, grazing is

controlled. The grass is also used for thatching. The management of the plot will be handed over to local village communities when procedures and guidelines have been worked out.

5.4 Semi-circular bunds

5.4.1 Background 5.4.2 Technical details 5.4.3 Layout, and construction 5.4.4 Maintenance 5.4.5 Husbandry 5.4.6 Socio-economic Factors

5.4.1 Background

Semi-circular bunds are earth embankments in the shape of a semi-circle with the tips of the bunds on the contour. Semi-circular bunds, of varying dimensions, are used mainly for rangeland rehabilitation or fodder production. This technique is also useful for growing trees and shrubs and, in some cases, has been used for growing crops. Depending on the location, and the chosen catchment: cultivated area ratio, it may be a short slope or long slope catchment technique. The examples described here are short slope catchment systems. Semi-circular bunds, (the term "demi-lune" is used in Francophone Africa), are recommended as a quick and easy method of improving rangelands in semi-arid areas. Semi-circular bunds are more efficient in terms of impounded area to bund volume than other equivalent structures - such as trapezoidal bunds for example. Surprisingly, this technique has never been used traditionally. Plate 6 Semi-circular bund during construction
5.4.2 Technical details

i. Suitability

Semi-circular bunds for rangeland improvement and fodder production can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 200 - 750 mm: from arid to semi-arid areas. Soils: all soils which are not too shallow or saline. Slopes: below 2%, but with modified bund designs up to 5%. Topography: even topography required, especially for design "a" (see below). The main limitation of semi-circular bunds is that construction cannot easily be mechanized. Since semi-circular bunds can be designed to a variety of dimensions, two specific designs are explained in this section. Design "a" comprises small structures, closely spaced. It is suitable for the relatively "wetter" semi-arid areas but requires low slopes and even terrain. Design "b", with larger and wider spaced bunds, is more suitable for drier areas, and does not need such even topography. ii. Overall configuration The two designs of semi-circular bunds considered here differ in the size of structure and in field layout. Design "a" has bunds with radii of 6 metres, and design "b" has bunds with radii of 20 metres. In both designs the semicircular bunds are constructed in staggered lines with runoff producing catchments between structures. Design "a" is a short slope catchment technique, and is not designed to use runoff from outside the treated area, nor to accommodate overflow. Design "b" is also a short slope catchment system, but can accommodate limited runoff from an external source. Overflow occurs around the tips of the bund which are set on the contour. Figure 29. Semi-circular bunds: field layout iii. Catchment: cultivated area ratio

Design "b" The radius of the semi-circle is 20 metres. The tips of each bund are set on the contour. As with design "a". thus allowing the collection of runoff from the area between the bunds above. A larger C:CA ratio for design "b" is possible but it should not exceed 5:1. Each bund has a constant cross section over the whole length of 19 m.As discussed in Chapter 4. but the height increases towards the middle of the base to 50 cm with side slopes of 3:1 (horizontal: vertical). iv. though occurrence of overflow is usually rare.10 metres. with a higher risk of breaching. A detailed calculation is not required. suitable for slopes of 1% or less. Design "b" has a C:CA ratio of 3:1. and does not require provision for overflow. Larger ratios would require bigger and more expensive structures. Bunds in the row below are staggered. consists of a series of small semi-circular bunds with radii of 6 metres. and the distance between the tips of adjacent bunds in the same row is 3 metres. Due to the larger dimensions of the bunds there are only 4 . Corresponding base widths are 70 cm and 3. Design "a" as described here has a C:CA ratio of only 1.4:1. and therefore provision for overflow around the tips of the bunds is recommended. At this spacing 70-75 bunds per hectare are required. respectively. the bund is only 10 cm high. The distance between the two rows. is 3 metres. from the base of bunds in the first line to tips of bunds in the second. The cross-section of the bund changes over its length. At the wing tip. The recommended bund height is 25 cm with side slopes of 1:1 which result in a base width of 75 cm at a selected top width of 25 cm. Bund design Design "a": This design. and a top width of 10 cm. C:CA ratios of up to 3:1 are generally recommended for water harvesting systems used for rangeland improvement and fodder -production. The reasons for applying low ratios are that already adapted rangeland and fodder plants in semi-arid and arid areas need only a small amount of extra moisture to respond significantly with higher yields. the bunds must be arranged in a staggered configuration.

4 73 175 Design "a" up to 1. The number of structures required for one hectare would thus increase to 16 which maintains the C:CA ratio of 3:1. QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORKS FOR SEMI-CIRCULAR BUNDS Land slope Radius Length of Impounded area Earthworks per Bunds Earthworks per (m) bund (m) per bund (m2) bund (m3) per ha ha (m3) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 6 19 57 2. Small radii are common when semicircular bunds are used for tree growing and production of crops.5 m3 for each 100 metres of length has to be added to the figures in column 6. For example. . For higher slopes. As already mentioned above. 62.2 16 210 vi.structures required per hectare. on a slope of 4%.4 4 105 10 31 160 13. Table 21. with bunds of about 25 cm in height. The distance between the tips of two adjacent structures in one row is 10 m while 30 metres are recommended between the base of the upper structure and the tips of the lower one. A recommended radius for these smaller structures is 2 to 3 metres. smaller radii are required. It should be noted that where a diversion ditch is required (Design "a" only). Figure 30 Semi-circular bund dimensions v. Quantities of earthworks Table 21 gives quantities of earthworks required for different layouts.0% Design "b" up to 2. the radius should be reduced to 10 metres and the distance between two adjacent rows from 30 metres to 15 metres while the tips of two adjacent structures should be 5 m apart instead of 10 m. radii and distances between the structures can be increased or decreased according to the selected C:CA ratio.0% 4. Design "b" is recommended on slopes up to 2%. with a range of both radii and bund dimensions. Design variations Semi-circular bunds can be constructed in a variety of sizes.0% 20 63 630 26.

that is. in the second row should coincide with the middle of the gaps between bunds in the first row and so forth. This line need not be smooth. A piece of string as long as the selected radius is now fixed at the centre point by means of a peg.5. It must be ensured that the space between bunds from one row to another is according to the chosen distance. 3 m for design "a" and 30 m for design "b". Holding the string tight at the other end. only dimensions differ. Step One The first contour.4. Step Two A tape measure is now used to mark the tips of the semi-circular bunds on the contour. the tips are 40 metres apart and the distance to the next structure is 10 m. at the top of the scheme. Step Three The centre point between the tips of each semi-circular unit is marked. For design "b". The centre points of the bunds. Step Four Staking out and construction of the semi-circular bunds in the second and all following rows will be carried out in the same way. The alignment can be marked by pegs or small stones (see Figure 31). is staked out using a simple surveying instrument as described in the appendix. It is important that the structures in each row are staggered in relation to structures in the row above. Figure 31. the alignment of the semi-circle is defined by swinging the end of the string from one tip to the other. Layout technique Step Five . For design "a". for example. the tips of one structure are 12 metres apart (2 times the radius) and the distance to the next unit is 3 m. and construction The layout for both designs is similar.3 Layout.

it is recommended that the bund tips are protected with a layer of stones. This will ensure that the bund tips are more resistant to erosion when excess water discharges around them. A diversion ditch above the first row of structures may be necessary for design "a" to protect the first row of bunds against runoff coming from the catchment area above. since at this time the bunds are not yet fully consolidated. If damage occurs. Step Six For design "b". Figure 32.4. Semi-circular bunds which are used for fodder production normally need repairs of initial breaches only. as evenly as possible. bund construction is started with excavation of a small trench inside the bund. the most critical period for semi-circular bunds is when rainstorms occur just after construction.After setting out. The situation is different if animals have access into the bunded area and are allowed to graze.4 Maintenance As with all earthen structures. it is recommended that a diversion ditch is provided if not already constructed. with a gradient of 0. Further excavation should always be from inside the bund. a dense network of the perennial grasses will protect the bunds against erosion and damage. Diversion ditches should be 1 .5 metre wide and 50 cm deep. Any breakages must be repaired immediately.25%. Protection of wingtips . as shown in Figure 32. 5. This is because in the course of time. This will increase the storage capacity of the semi-circular bund. The bund should be constructed in layers of 10-15 cm with each layer being compacted and wetted first if possible. In this case.1. Where semi-circular bunds of design "a" are built in one block of several hectares it is advisable to provide one or more diversion ditches within the block as a safety factor. regular inspections and maintenance (repair) of bund damages will be necessary.

. it will be more appropriate to re-seed with seed from outside.6 Socio-economic Factors Water harvesting for range improvement and for fodder production will mainly be applied in areas where the majority of the inhabitants are agropastoralists . Therefore.Plate 7 Grass grown in semi-circular bund 5. Local collection of perennial grass seed from useful species can also be appropriate provided the seed is taken from "virgin land". trees and shrub seedlings may be planted within the bunds. it may be difficult to motivate the population to invest voluntarily. the concept of improving communally used rangeland is usually least in the Sub-Saharan Africa context.5 Husbandry It may be possible to allow the already existing vegetation to develop provided it consists of desirable species or perennial rootstocks. 5. In these areas.4. however. Even when this is possible it is equally important to introduce an appropriate and acceptable range management programme to avoid over-grazing and subsequent degradation of the range. In most cases. Together with grass.4. in the time and effort required for implementing and maintaining such a water harvesting system.

3 Layout and construction 5.5 Husbandry 5. The concept was not only to concentrate runoff for crop production. The main crop grown is bulrush millet. sometimes called contour furrows or microwatersheds. The yield of runoff from the very short catchment lengths is extremely efficient and when designed and constructed correctly there should be no loss of runoff out of the hand or by machine . Another advantage is an even crop growth . In recent years the Government has tested a similar system for rehabilitation of rangeland where. each with a radius of only about 2 metres. but to rehabilitate degraded land in an area with an average annual rainfall of only 250.5. so that natural reseeding can take place. within the bunds.1 Background 5.300 mm.5 Contour ridges for crops 5. PROFILE: "Demi-Lunes" in Tahoua Department. The "demi-lunes" were constructed by hand. Ridges follow the contour at a spacing of usually 1 to 2 metres. The semi-circular bunds in this project are small. Crops are planted on both sides of the furrow.5.5. bushes or trees. and the bunded area must be rested periodically for it to regenerate.5. The total number within each block is about 300 per hectare.5. using food-for-work rations during the construction time. Runoff is collected from the uncultivated strip between ridges and stored in a furrow just above the ridges.4 Maintenance 5. are used for crop production.2 Technical details 5.5. The system is simple to construct . were introduced as a crop production technique by a Non-Government Organization in Tahoua Department of Niger during the mid-1980s. grass and trees were planted. literally "half moons". "Demi-lunes". the technique is also suitable for crop production.Controlled grazing is also essential to maintain good quality rangeland.and can be even less labour intensive than the conventional tilling of a plot. Niger Although semi-circular bunds are mostly used for growing grass. 5.6 Socio-economic factors 5. resulting in an average catchment: cultivated area ratio of 4:1.1 Background Contour ridges.5. This is again a microcatchment technique.

Soil is excavated and placed downslope to form a ridge. Plate 8 Contour ridge system 5. Topography: must be even . as the amount of harvested runoff is comparatively small due to the small catchment area.750 mm. Small earth ties in the furrow are provided every few metres to ensure an even storage of runoff.5. and the excavated furrow above the ridge collects runoff from the catchment strip between ridges. Figure 33. Soils: all soils which are suitable for agriculture. Contour ridges for crops are not yet a widespread technique. They are being tested for crop production on various projects in Africa.0%. Heavy and compacted soils may be a constraint to construction of ridges by hand.due to the fact that each plant has approximately the same contributing catchment area. Slopes: from flat up to 5. ii.areas with rills or undulations should be avoided. Limitations Contour ridges are limited to areas with relatively high rainfall. A diversion ditch may be necessary to protect the system against runoff from outside. earth ridges approximately on the contour at a spacing of between one and two metres. Suitability Contour ridges for crop production can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 350 . or almost parallel. iii. Overall configuration The overall layout consists of parallel. Contour ridges: field layout .2 Technical details i.

As the runoff is harvested only from a small strip between the ridges. The C:CA ratio can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the distance between the ridges. Contour ridge dimensions . and use the runoff concentrated in the furrow.5 m between ridges. A distance of 2 metres between ridges would give a 3:1 ratio.2. Catchment: cultivated area ratio The cultivated area is not easy to define. It is a common practice to assume a 50 cm strip with the furrow at its centre. the C:CA ratio is 2:1. a height of 15 -20 cm is sufficient. the ridge height must be increased. The calculation of the catchment: cultivated area ratio follows the design model of Chapter 4. v. Thus for a typical distance of 1. that is a catchment strip of one metre and a cultivated strip of half a metre. Ridge design Ridges need only be as high as necessary to prevent overtopping by runoff.5 . In practice a spacing of 1. Crops are planted within this zone. If bunds are spaced at more than 2 metres. Figure 34.iv.0 metres between ridges (C:CA ratios of 2:1 and 3:1 respectively) is generally recommended for annual crops in semi-arid areas.

an additional 62. The space in between the ridges can be several metres (for strip collectors. A series of wide. the space is usually between 2-5 metres).5 20 480 2. Where a diversion ditch is necessary. It should be noted that the construction of the ridges already includes land preparation . vii.0 20 360 vi. Design variations .no further cultivation is required. Quantities and labour Quantities of earthwork for different contour ridge spacing and ridge heights are given below. Design variations Design variations developed in Israel are the "runoff strips" ("Shananim") and "strip collectors" as described by Shanan and Tadmore (1979). but shallow ridges and furrows are formed by means of a blade grader.Table 22 QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORK FOR CONTOUR RIDGES Ridge spacing Ridge & Tie height Earthworks per ha (m) (cm) (m3) 1. Figure 35.5 m3 for each 100 metre of length of ditch has to be added.5 15 270 1.

3 Layout and construction Step One Contours are surveyed by a simple surveying instrument such as a water tube level or line level (see appendix). The alignment for the ridges is then marked in between the keylines according to selected spacing. Step Two Contour keylines should be staked out every 10 or 15 metres. It is necessary to stop lines where the contours converge or to add short extra lines in between where the contours diverge. next to the furrow. The ties are 15-20 cm high and 50 .5. The real contour should be smoothed to obtain a better alignment for agricultural operations. On uneven terrain. the contours may come closer together at one point or widen at other points. Step Four Small cross-ties are built at intervals of about 5 metres dividing each furrow into a number of segments. Step Three The furrows are excavated usually by means of a hoe or are ploughed parallel to the marked alignments for the ridges. .75 cm long. and the ridge is formed.5. The excavated soil is placed downslope.

Figure 37.4 Maintenance If contour ridges are correctly laid out and built.5 Husbandry The main crop (usually a cereal) is seeded into the upslope side of the ridge between the top of the ridge and the furrow.5. At the end of each season the ridges need to be rebuilt to their original height.Step Five A diversion ditch should be provided above the block of contour ridges if there is a risk of damage caused by runoff from outside the system. usually a legume. can be planted in front of the furrow. Figure 36.5. with a gradient of 0. depending on the fertility status of the soils. The excavated soil is placed downslope. The ditch should be constructed before the contour ridges are built to prevent damage from early rains. At this point. the ridges or ties must be repaired immediately.25%. The diversion ditch should be 50 cm deep and 1-1. An intercrop. it is unlikely that there will be any overtopping and breaching. Planting configuration . After two or three seasons. The reduced number of plants thus have more moisture available in years of low rainfall. It is recommended that the plant population of the cereal crop be reduced to approximately 65% of the standard for conventional rainfed cultivation. which will result in a fresh supply of nutrients to the plants. 5. Nevertheless if breaches do occur. The uncultivated catchment area between the ridges should be kept free of vegetation to ensure that the optimum amount of runoff flows into the furrows.5 m wide. it may be necessary to move the ridges downslope by approximately a metre or more. Contour ridges: layout technique Plate 9 Construction of contour ridges 5. the plants have a greater depth of top soil.

5. When used by a farmer on his own land. Niger While contour ridges can be made by hand or by animal draft. It can be implemented by the farmer using a hoe. The contour ridge technique for crop production was introduced 1988. This is particularly appropriate for larger scale implementation. External support is limited to a minimum. where annual rainfall is only in the range of 300 mm. the system does not create any conflicts of interest between the implementor and the beneficiary.Weeding must be carried out regularly around the plants and within the catchment strip. On the other hand. Alternatively it can be mechanized and a variety of implements can be used. The Integrated Programme for the Rehabilitation of Damergou. farmers may be initially reluctant to accept this technique. implementation can also be mechanized. PROFILE: Contour Ridges for Crops in Zinder Department. Demonstration and motivation are therefore very important. . at no or little extra cost. it is one of the simplest and cheapest methods of water harvesting. Niger is testing ways of bringing degraded land back into productive use.6 Socio-economic factors Since the contour ridge technique implies a new tillage and planting method compared with conventional cultivation.5.

and the subsoil beneath the furrows is ripped to increase infiltration rates. The name is derived from the layout of the structure which has the form of a trapezoid -a base bund connected to two side bunds or wingwalls which extend upslope at an angle of usually 135». 5.6. Cross ties are formed by the machine at an automatically controlled spacing.4 Maintenance 5.6. and up to 1. three sides of a plot are enclosed by bunds while the fourth (upslope) side is left open to allow runoff to enter the field.1 Background Trapezoidal bunds are used to enclose larger areas (up to 1 ha) and to impound larger quantities of runoff which is harvested from an external or "long slope" catchment.2 Technical Details 5. Crops are planted within the enclosed area.6.3 Layout and construction 5.6.6 Socio-economic factors 5.2 Technical Details . a special plough was designed to form the ridges. consisting of a base bund connected to wingwalls is a common traditional technique in parts of Africa. The involvement of the villagers and implications for land tenure however need to be carefully taken into account as the programme develops. at a distance of 2 metres apart. usually in straight lines (though approximately on the contour).6. 5. The machine is reversible.5 Husbandry 5.6 Trapezoidal bunds 5. It is reported that one hectare can be treated in an hour. The concept is similar to the semi-circular bund technique: in this case.6.6.Plate 10 Ridger in action For this purpose.1 Background 5.6. This section is based on the design and layout of trapezoidal bunds implemented in Turkana District in northern Kenya. The simplicity of design and construction and the minimum maintenance required are the main advantages of this technique. The general layout. Overflow discharges around the tips of the wingwalls.000 ha in a four month season by a single machine.

Their most common application is for crop production under the following site conditions: Rainfall: 250 mm . but most suitable below 0. Limitations This technique is limited to low ground slopes.500 mm. arid to semi-arid areas.5%. The size of the enclosed area depends on the slope and can vary from 0. Figure 38.i. ii.5%. trees and grass. The staggered configuration as shown in Figure 38 should always be followed. Trapezoidal bunds may be constructed as single units. units in lower lines intersect overflow from the bunds above.1 to 1 ha. The planner is of course free to select other layouts to best fit into the site conditions. significant (non-cracking) clay content.e. Suitability Trapezoidal bunds can be used for growing crops.5% is technically feasible. Topography: area within bunds should be even. but involves prohibitively large quantities of earthwork. Overall configuration Each unit of trapezoidal bunds consists of a base bund connected to two wingwalls which extend upslope at an angle of 135 degrees. they are arranged in a staggered configuration. Slopes: from 0. Recommended dimensions for one unit of trapezoidal bunds are given in Table 23. Construction of trapezoidal bunds on slopes steeper than 1. Soils: agricultural soils with good constructional properties i. or in sets. iii.25% . When several trapezoidal bunds are built in a set. A common distance between the tips of adjacent bunds within one row is 20 m with 30 m spacing between the tips of the lower row and the base bunds of the upper row (see Figure 38). It is not recommended to build more than two rows of trapezoidal bunds since those in a third or fourth row receive significantly less runoff.1. Trapezoidal bunds: field layout for 1% groundslope .

iv. Catchment: cultivated area (C:CA) ratio The basic methodology of determining C:CA ratio is given in Chapter 4. for the case where it is necessary to determine the necessary catchment size .

and particularly under storm conditions resulting in excessive inflow. This is particularly the case for bunds on steeper slopes and for those with high C:CA ratios. This results in recommendation of a maximum C:CA ratio of 10:1. in situations where the catchment is not of adequate size.32 = 8 In common with all water harvesting techniques which rely on external catchments. Where the use of a large catchment is unavoidable a temporary diversion ditch is advisable to prevent excessive inflow of runoff. In years of high rainfall. Example: Calculate the number of trapezoidal bunds needed to utilize the runoff from a catchment area of 20 ha under the following conditions: Slope: Crop water requirement: Design rainfall: Runoff coefficient: Efficiency factor: 1% 475 mm per season 250 mm per season 0.50 From Chapter 4: But C = 20 ha Thus From Table 23 the area available for cultivation within one trapezoidal bund on a 1% slope is 3200 m2 = 0. damage can be caused to crops and to the bunds themselves. It is sometimes more appropriate to approach the problem the other way round. the C:CA ratio is based on seasonal rainfall reliability in a year of relatively low rainfall.32 ha. although ratios of up to 30:1 are sometimes used. number of bunds required: N = 2. .8/0. interception ditches can be excavated to lead runoff from adjacent catchments to the bunds. Conversely. and determine the area and number of bunds which can be cultivated from an existing catchment.25 0. Therefore.for a required cultivated area.

Figure 40. Consequently as the gradient becomes steeper the wingwalls extend less far upslope as is illustrated in Figure 39. Earthworks are also quoted per hectare of cultivated area. The greater the slope above 0. Bund design The criteria used in the design of bunds in Turkana were as follows: Length of base bund: Angle between base and side bunds: Maximum bund height: Minimum bund height (at tips): 40 m 135° 0. Dimensions and quantities of earthworks Table 23 gives details of dimensions and earthworks quantities in the Turkana model for different slopes.20m The configuration of the bunds is dependent upon the land slope.5%. Trapezoidal bund: standard cross-section vi. Plate 11 Traditional system in Somalia Figure 41. the less efficient the model becomes because of increasing earthwork requirements per cultivated hectare (see Table 23). Considerable variations are possible dependent on climatic.60m 0. physical and socio-economic conditions. Eastern Sudan (Source: Critchley and Reij 1989) . The optimum design for an individual set of circumstances can only be achieved by a process of trial and error.Figure 39. vii. Trapezoidal bund dimensions v. and is determined by the designed maximum flooded depth of 40 cm at the base bund. Bund cross-sections are shown in Figure 40 and are based on a 1 metre crest width and 4:1 (horizontal: vertical) side slopes. "Teras" system. Design variations The configurations and design criteria outlined above apply to bunds installed in the Turkana District of Kenya.

5 m3 for each 100 m length. In Northwest Somalia a development project has constructed banana-shaped bunds by bulldozer. are found in the clay plains of Eastern Sudan and also in Somalia.5 40 1. In Sudan.5 40 Length of wingwall (m) 114 57 38 Distance Earthworks Cultivated area Earthworks per between tips per bund (m3) per bund (m2) ha cultivated (m3) (m) 200 355 9600 370 120 220 3200 670 94 175 1800 970 Note: Where diversion ditches or collection arms are required these add 62.3 Layout and construction Step One . Traditional forms of water harvesting.0 40 1. similar to trapezoidal bunds.6. 5. QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORKS FOR TRAPEZOIDAL BUND Slope(%) Length of base bund (m) 0. the layout of the bunds is rectangular with the wingwalls extending upslope at right angles to the base bund.Table 23.

Similarly. Points 3 and 4. Point "a" can be established by measuring the distance "x" from Point 1 along the line joining points 1 and 2. Starting at the top of the field a peg is placed which will be the tip of one of the wingwalls (point 1). Point 3 and Point 1. and Point 2 and Point 4 which should be: Point 3 .Point 4 = 40 m Point 1 . which are the points of intersection of the base bund and the wingwalls. Values for "x" (for different slopes) can be obtained from Figure 39. Trapezoidal bund: staking out of main points Figure 43. Trapezoidal bund: detail of tip .When the site for the bund has been decided. Point "b" is established by measuring the distance "x" from Point 2 along the line joining points 1 and 2. lie a distance x downslope from points "a" and "b" respectively. measured at right angles to the line joining Point 1 and Point 2. Step Three The accuracy of the setting out can be checked by measuring the distances between Point 3 and Point 4. The right angle can most easily be found by using a wooden right angle triangular template (sides: 100 cm. the tips of the wingwalls will be determined. Points 3 and 4 are then pegged. This is set out using a line level and a tape as described in the Appendix and is marked by a peg. Having established the ground slope.Point 3 = Point 2 . Step Two The dimensions for staking out the four main points of the bund are shown on Figure 42. Dimensions for bunds on different slopes are given in Table 23. The second wingwall tip (point 2) is at the same ground level at the distance obtained from Table 23.Point 4 Figure 42. 60 cm and 80 cm). the first thing to do is to establish the land slope using an Abney level or line level as described in the Appendix.

the other bunds should be pegged out accordingly.9 m from Line 3-4. At point 3 (4) distances of 2.If. Where more than one bund is required. At point 1 (2) perpendicular distances of 1.5 m in any of these three dimensions.90 m either side and perpendicular to the wingbunds centreline (line 13. Along the base bund this is done by marking parallel lines at a distance of 2. there is an error greater than 0. on checking. For the wingbunds. Step Four Having set the main points of the bunds it is necessary then to set out pegs or stones to mark the earthworks limits. It is then possible to peg out earthwork limits on both sides of the wingbunds centreline. the demarcation of the earthworks limits is slightly more complicated. Step Five . 2-4) are measured and marked. the setting out procedure should be repeated.30 m either side of the wingbund centreline are measured and marked.

Step Seven Where the catchment is large in relation to the bunded area. and excess runoff drains around them. as this promotes gullying and bund failure. to allow its bed level to reach ground level. the thickness of the second layer will taper to 0. where possible.30 m. Similarly.0 to 1. Trapezoidal bund: diversion ditch . thus permitting runoff to enter the trapezoidal bunds. where this is possible. During the early part of the season breaches can be made in this embankment at approximately 10 metre intervals and the material used to temporarily plug the ditch. This lip should be pitched with stones for extra resistance to erosion. To prevent erosion of the tips they should be shaped with a small extension or "lip" to lead water away. This ditch is usually 50 cm deep and of 1. Over this length the bed width of the ditch should be gradually increased to 3 metres. which also assists in diverting runoff from the bunds.5 metres width. Soil excavated from the ditch is used to construct an embankment on the downslope side. it is advisable to construct a diversion ditch to prevent excessive inflow to the bunds. it is necessary to continue excavation of the ditch some distance downslope. Suggested dimensions are shown in Figure 43. As shown on Figure 44. and should be watered prior to compaction.25%. Material for fill should not be excavated adjacent to the bunds on their downslope side. The bund is constructed in two layers. Figure 44.20 m at the tips. to assist in levelling the area within the bund to promote even depth of flooding. Excavation to provide the necessary fill should be taken from within the bunded area.Construction of a set of trapezoidal bunds must start with the row furthest upslope. The thickness of the first layer will gradually taper off to zero as filling proceeds upslope along the wingbunds. each having a maximum thickness of 0.Each layer should be thoroughly compacted by rolling. and is usually graded at 0. ramming or stamping. Step Six The tips of the bunds are only 20 cm high. Before commencing construction the soil within the foundation area of the bunds should be loosened to ensure good "mating" with the fill.

In the trapezoidal bund. In the driest areas planting is sometimes delayed until a runoff event has saturated the soil within the bund. It is usual to plough parallel to the base bund. The most common crops are cereals. and of these sorghum and bulrush (pearl) millet are by far the most usual. and ponding often occurs near the base bund.or both.6.5 Husbandry Trapezoidal bunds are normally used for production of annual crops in dry areas. Allowing natural vegetation to grow on the bunds leads to improved consolidation by the plant roots. Sorghum can tolerate both these situations. Likewise the upper part may be relatively dry. such as cowpea or tepary . 5. water tends to be unevenly distributed because of the slope. and extra stone pitching provided if required. after ordinary cultivation of the soil within the bund. Holes burrowed by rodents can be another cause of breaching. Repairs to the wing tips will frequently be needed when overflow has occurred. 5. and germination/establishment is guaranteed. Breaches are often caused by poor construction. It is advisable to construct a diversion ditch to protect the repaired bund.6. Sorghum is particularly appropriate for such systems because it is both drought tolerant and withstands temporary waterlogging. and the earth compacted thoroughly. these must be repaired immediately. It is also possible to make use of out-of-season showers by planting a quick maturing legume. or because the catchment area is producing damaging amounts of runoff .Figure 45. Interception ditch Step Eight In situations where the catchment is not of adequate size. Planting is carried out in the normal way. These should be built up. An example is shown in Figure 45. interception ditches can be made to lead runoff from adjacent catchments to the bunds. so that the small furrows formed by ploughing will locally accumulate some water. These should be filled in whenever spotted. These are opposite in effect to diversion ditches but have similar sizes and design criteria.4 Maintenance If there are breaches in the bund.

and not used.beans (Phaseolus acutifolius). The design for trapezoidal bunds was based on scientific principles and the best available data on rainfall and runoff. However. a small NGO in the northeast of the District.6 Socio-economic factors It is difficult to generalize about the socio-economic factors concerning trapezoidal bunds.7. The first attempts at water harvesting. When this has been done without any significant beneficiary commitment the bunds have been quickly abandoned. Kenya Trapezoidal bunds were designed for Turkana District when a widespread food relief operation was underway in 1984.7 Contour stone bunds 5. Another useful technique is to plant curcurbits like gourds or watermelons on the bottom bund if water ponds deeply.1 Background 5. there are examples of similar structures being used traditionally in Sudan -where they are often made by hand. as different variations are found in different circumstances.6.7. based on contour bunds. has modified the basic design for local conditions. By 1987 about 150 trapezoidal bunds had been constructed for the production of quick maturing food crops including sorghum and cowpeas.2 Technical details 5. PROFILE: Trapezoidal Bunds in Turkana District.3 Layout and construction 5.7.7. Although the line level is used for setting out the bunds. As mentioned previously. without assistance from any agency and evidently perform well. On the other hand trapezoidal or similar bunds have been installed in other places under projects using food-for-work labour or even heavy machinery. as food-rewarded labour was not limiting and it was desired to make the structures as maintenance free as possible. The result was extensive bunding which was not useful . 5. The Turkana Water Harvesting Project. A policy of food-for-work had followed the free distribution of food at the beginning of the crisis. catchment sizes are estimated by eye and the experience of locally trained technicians. 5. there is considerable scope for the technique which has a traditional basis and does not require new farming skills. were not well designed or supervised.4 Maintenance . The amount of earthmoving necessary for trapezoidal bunds means that their construction usually requires organized labour or machinery and is beyond the scope of the individual farmer. There was a deliberate policy to "over-design". where adequate motivation exists.

Stone bunding techniques for water harvesting (as opposed to stone bunding for hillside terracing. The filtering effect of the semi-permeable barrier along its full length gives a better spread of runoff than earth bunds are able to do. can be implemented quickly and cheaply.7. It has proved an effective technique.5. Improved construction and alignment along the contour makes the technique considerably more effective. Plate 12 Contour stone bund 5.7:5 Husbandry 5. where potentially damaging flows are concentrated.6 Socio-economic factors 5. Furthermore. This technique is well suited to small scale application on farmer's fields and. from arid to semi-arid areas. Suitability Stone bunds for crop production can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 200 mm . . a much more widespread technique) is best developed in Yatenga Province of Burkina Faso. The water and sediment harvested lead directly to improved crop performance.750 mm. stone bunds require much less maintenance. Soils: agricultural soils.1 Background Contour stone bunds are used to slow down and filter runoff. Slopes: preferably below 2%. thereby increasing infiltration and capturing sediment.7. Making bunds . notably in Burkina Faso.7.or merely lines .2 Technical details i. which is popular and quickly mastered by villagers. The great advantage of systems based on stone is that there is no need for spillways. given an adequate supply of stones.of stones is a traditional practice in parts of Sahelian West Africa.

Contour stone bunds: field layout (Source: Critchley and Reij 1989) Table 24.05 m2) Medium (cross-section 0. ii. across fields or grazing land. or the approximate contour. stone Person m3/ha days/ha 35 70 55 35 55 110 105 165 Bund spacing = 20 m Vol.05 m2) Medium (cross-section 0. Overall configuration Stone bunds follow the contour. The productivity figures quoted above are based on experience where suitable sized stones were available in-field (productivity 0. Initially it is advisable to be conservative in estimation of areas which can be cultivated from any catchment.08 m2) Small (cross-section 0. The spacing between bunds ranges normally between 15 and 30 m depending largely on the amount of stone and labour available.5 m person-day) or in the immediate locality (productivity 0. 3 3 iii.08 m2) Note: Labour requirements are very sensitive to availability of stone. Catchment: cultivated area ratio Contour stone bunds are a long slope technique relying on an external catchment. Theoretical catchment: cultivated area (C:CA) ratios can be calculated using the formula given in Chapter 4. if appropriate.) Small (cross-section 0. There is no need for diversion ditches or provision of spillways. . Figure 46. The area can be extended either downslope or upslope in subsequent cropping seasons.Topography: need not be completely even. stone Person m3/ha days/ha 25 50 40 25 40 80 75 120 Stones available in field Stones transported locally (wheelbarrow etc. Stone availability: must be good local supply of stone.33 m person-day)^ These rates of productivity would decrease significantly if stone has to be transported over greater distances and/or is of too large a size and has to be broken. QUANTITIES AND LABOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTOUR STONE BUNDS Bund size Bund spacing = 15 m Vol.

The bund should be constructed according to the "reverse filter" principle . which allow runoff to flow freely through the gaps in-between. or other vegetative material.40 cm. Bund spacings of 20 metres for slopes of less than 1%. earth contour bunds can be constructed. Figure 47 Contour stone bund: dimensions v. over a period of time. stone lines can be used to form the framework of a system. which helps to prevent undermining by runoff. As explained in the construction details. Grass. it is important to incorporate a mixture of large and small stones. of 5 .with smaller stones placed upstream of the larger ones to facilitate rapid siltation. Figure 48. Quantities and labour Table 24 gives details of the quantities of stone involved in bunding and the associated labour. is then planted immediately behind the lines and forms. and 15 metres for slopes of 1-2%. Stone bund under construction 5. with stone spillways set into them (Figure 48). Alternatively. an initial minimum bund height of 25 cm is recommended.iv.3 Layout and construction Step One . are recommended. Design variations Where there is not enough stone readily available. a "living barrier" which has a similar effect to a stone bund.10 cm depth. vi. with a base width of 35 . Design variation: contour earth bunding with stone spillway Plate 13.7. The bund should be set into a shallow trench. A common error is to use only large stones. Bund design Although simple stone lines can be partially effective.

A horizontal spacing of approximately 20 metres apart is recommended for slopes of up to 1%. and then smaller stones laid in front and on top of this "anchor" line. the lines may come closer together. Because of variations in the slope. The excavated soil is placed upslope. farmers can start with a single bund at the bottom of their fields and work progressively upslope in seasons to come. but also the amount of stone used for construction will be reduced. for ground slopes of up to 1. or ploughed by oxen and then excavated by hand. The trench is made by hand tools. Figure 49.2% slopes. the line should be smoothed by moving individual pegs up or downslope. Where possible. Small stones should be used to plug gaps between the larger ones.40 cm). As a guideline.0 % pegs can be moved 2 metres upslope or downslope to create a smoother curve. Step Four Construction begins with large stones laid down at the base and the downslope side of the trench. or diverge at some points. The key to a successful stone bund is to eliminate any large gaps between stones. The trench need only be 5 -10 cm deep and equal to the base width of the bund (35 . and 15 metres apart for 1 . If labour is a limiting factor. The horizontal spacings recommended are the average distances apart. Each contour line is then set out and pegged individually. Step Two After the exact contour is laid out.The average slope of the field is determined by a simple surveying instrument such as a water level or a line level (see Appendix) to decide on the spacing of the bunds. a line of small or gravelly stones should run along the upslope face of the bund to create a fine filter. Step Three A shallow trench is now formed along the smoothed contour. In some areas it will be necessary to break large stones to produce the correct sizes of material. Not only will a gentle curve be easier to follow while ploughing. Construction of stone bund .

In this context it is recommended that the bunds be supported by a further technique . These pits. Andropogon guyanus is the best grass for this purpose in West Africa. which are usually about 0. Plate 14 'Zai' As in the case of all cropping systems under water harvesting.that of planting pits or "zai". These should be replaced.4 Maintenance During heavy runoff events stone bunds may be overtopped and |some stones dislodged. an improved standard of general husbandry is important to make use of the extra water harvested. It normally takes 3 seasons or more to happen. 5.7. to reduce siltation. Eventually stone bunds silt-up. A more common requirement is to plug any small gaps with small stones or gravel where runoff forms a tunnel through.30 m in diameter. and their water harvesting efficiency is lost. The pits also concentrate local runoff which is especially useful at the germination and establishment phase.9 m apart. The grass supplements the stone bund and effectively increases its height. Manure is placed in the pits to improve plant growth. It can be seeded. Manuring (as described above) is very important in fertility . and the mature grass is used for weaving into mats.15 m deep and 0.7:5 Husbandry Stone bunds in West Africa are often used for rehabilitation of | infertile and degraded land. Alternatively grasses can be planted alongside the bund. Bunds should be built up in these circumstances with less tightly packed stones. while maintaining the effect of slowing runoff.5. and on steeper slopes. and occurs more rapidly where bunds are wider apart. are up to 0.

The results have been visible and impressive: farmers who have treated their land have obtained cereal yields up to twice that of their what extent is the cost of stone transport justified? PROFILE: The Agroforestry Project. the people were faced with a stark choice .and this helps to make the system popular.8 Permeable rock dams 5. and farmers trained to lay out contours using a water level.8.6 Socio-economic factors On-farm stone bunding for crop production is quickly appreciated and adopted by including simple surveying.8.8. has been promoting contour stone bunding since 1980. The benefits of stone bunding are often clearly seen already in the first season . Also essential is early weeding: in areas where stone bunds are commonly used. can be easily learned.8. fields can be transformed in a single day. Differing availabilities of stones can lead to inequalities between neighbouring areas: not everyone can benefit in the same way. Combined with increasing population pressure.8.2 Technical Details 5. and where groups are organized to work in turn on individual member's farms. The area of land treated has been increased from 150 ha in 1982 to approximately 5000 ha in 1987. Burkina Faso The Agroforestry Project situated in Yatenga Province in the north of Burkina Faso. The techniques involved. and poorer farmers may lag behind. Relatively rich farmers can make use of wage labour to treat their fields.8. The reduced rainfall in the Sahelian zones over the last two decades has left much of the land in this area barren and encrusted with a hard surface improve the land or to migrate.1 Background 5. 5.4 Maintenance 5. Yatenga. late weeding is often a constraint to production. and to build bunds more "scientifically". Nevertheless there are some problems which must be faced. The amount of labour required is reasonable.3 Layout and construction 5.6 Socio-economic factors . 5.7. This leads to another problem . Under the Agroforestry Project the traditional technique of stone bunding was improved.5 Husbandry 5.

Suitability Permeable rock dams for crop production can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 200 -750 mm. though the latter term is normally used for structures within watercourses in more arid areas. and require considerable quantities of loose stone as well as the provision of transport.8. The structures are typically long. . Plate 15 Spreader bund Plate 16 Spillway Interest in permeable rock dams has centred on West Africa .8.poorer soils will be improved by treatment. The large amount of work involved means that the technique is labour intensive and needs a group approach. resulting in floodwater no longer spreading naturally. 5.2 Technical Details i. shallow valley beds.1 Background Permeable rock dams are a floodwater farming technique where runoff waters are spread in valley bottoms for improved crop production. low dam walls across particularly popular where villagers have experienced the gullying of previously productive valley bottoms.and has grown substantially in the latter part of the 1980s. This technique -"digue filtrante" in French . Developing gullies are healed at the same time.5. Soils: all agricultural soils . from arid to semi-arid areas. Permeable rock dams can be considered a form of "terraced wadi". Slopes: best below 2% for most effective water spreading. Topography: wide.Burkina Faso in particular . as well as some assistance with transport of stone. The main limitation of permeable rock dams is that they are particularly site-specific.

ii. Permeable rock dams: general layout (Source: Critchley and Reij 1989) . However. Excess water filters through the dam. will be spread across the whole valley floor. giving stability to the valley system as a whole. low structure. creating a gully. while the extensions of the wall to either side curve back down the valleys approximately following the contour. the catchment characteristics will influence the size of structure and whether a spillway is required or not. thus making conditions more favourable for plant growth. Gradually the dam silts up with fertile deposits. made from loose stone (occasionally some gabion baskets may be used) across a valley floor. Usually a series of dams is built along the same valley floor. The central part of the dam is perpendicular to the watercourse. iii. The idea is that the runoff which concentrates in the centre of the valley. or overtops during peak flows. Figure 50. Catchment: cultivated area ratio The calculation of the C:CA ratio is not necessary as the catchment area and the extent of the cultivated land are predetermined. Overall configuration A permeable rock dam is a long.

0 35 280 * vertical intervals between adjacent dams = 0. Dam dimensions Table 25 QUANTITIES FOR PERMEABLE ROCK DAMS Land slope (%) Spacing between dams* (m) Volume of stone per ha cultivated (m3) 0.5 47 208 2. Dam design .Figure 51.5 140 70 1.7 m iv.0 70 140 1.

Table 25 gives the quantity of stone required per cultivated hectare for a series of typical permeable rock dams under different land gradients. In erodible soils. and 1:1 or 1:2 on the upstream side. The figures were calculated for a rock dam with an average cross section of 0. based on field estimates. Transport of stones by lorries from the collection site to the fields in the valley is the normal method. Labour requirements. which defines the necessary spacing between adjacent dams (see Figure 54). base width of 280 cm) and a length of 100 metres. are in the range of 0. Each project varies in detail. transportation and construction depends on a number of factors and vary widely. in the trench. The main part of the dam wall is usually about 70 cm high although some are as low as 50 cm. With shallower side slopes. but the lengths normally range from 50 to 300 metres.7 metre. it is advisable to place a layer of gravel. the central portion of the dam including the spillway (if required) may reach a maximum height of 2 m above the gully floor. The dam wall or "spreader" can extend up to 1000 metres across the widest valley beds. The vertical interval between dams is assumed to be 0. The dam wall is made from loose stone. Design variations . and sometimes break.98 m2 (70 cm high. but the majority conform to the basic pattern described here. or at least smaller stones.The design specifications given below are derived from a number of permeable rock dam projects in West Africa. vi. and the labour requirement for collection.5 cubic metres of stone per person/day excluding transport. but more expensive. the structure is more stable. Quantities and labour The quantity of stone. with larger boulders forming the "framework" and smaller stones packed in the middle like a "sandwich". carefully positioned. The sideslopes are usually 3:1 or 2:1 (horizontal: vertical) on the downstream side. For all soil types it is recommended to set the dam wall in an excavated trench of about 10 cm depth to prevent undermining by runoff waters. Considerable labour may be required to collect. The amount of stone used in the largest structures can be up to 2000 tons. stone. v. However.

Permeable rock dams are similar in many respects to the "terraced wadis" traditionally used in North Africa and the Middle East. Cross-wadi walls of stone retain runoff to depths of up to 50 cm. with the excess flowing over spillways into successive terraces below. Reij 1988). is used on flood plains or in broad "wadi" beds. the height of the wall decreases from the centre towards the sides of the valley to maintain a level crest. across clearly defined watercourses (Gilbertson 1986. the terraced wadi system is used in more arid regions. With straight dams. contrast to the usual design where the spreader bunds arch back from the centre to follow the contour. principally reported from Israel. often of earth. fruit trees or forestry.8. and excess drains around an excavated spillway.Where permeable rock dams are constructed in wide. Crops and fruit trees utilize the residual moisture. Figure 52 Permeable rock dams: alternative layout (Source: Critchley and Reij 1989) 5. they are sometimes made straight across . This technique is found where rainfall is as low as 100 mm per annum. "Limanim" (plural of Liman) may be constructed in series along a wadi bed. and is used for crops. However. relatively flat valley floors. The "Liman" system.3 Layout and construction . pond water to depths of 40 cm.

A foundation of small stones. b. as loose stone is easily destabilized by heavy floods. For greater depths. set in a trench. as there is the risk that the dam will fall into the gully if continued erosion causes the gully head to cut back. An apron of large rocks is needed to break the erosive force of the overflow. is required. The following should be noted: a. Gabion spillway .Step One Site selection depends both on the beneficiaries and the technicians. this should be built first. The downstream banks of the watercourse should be protected by stone pitching to prevent enlargement of the gully. Gabions are best for spillways. Figure 53. c. It is important not to build a permeable rock dam immediately above a gully head. Step Two Where a spillway is required. After site identification it is necessary to determine whether the structure needs a defined spillway: as a rule of thumb no spillway is required if the gully is less than one metre deep. a spillway is recommended. Theoretically it is best to start at the top of the valley. Gullies of over two metres depth pose special problems and should be only tackled with caution. though this may not always be the people's priority.

The contour can be laid out simply using a water tube or line level (see appendix).see profile at end of chapter) is recommended for general use. This alignment is ideally along the contour. Larger cross sections may be required dependent on catchment characteristics. The arms end when they turn parallel to the watercourse. Step Four A typical cross section (taken from the design of the PATECORE project in Burkina Faso . . 70 cm height and side slopes of 1:1 upstream and 3:1 downstream. This is of 280 cm base width. starting at the centre of the valley (where there may/may not be a spillway). Thus the extension arms sweep backwards in an arc like the contours of a valley on a map.Step Three The alignment of the main dam walls can be marked out. or as close to the contour as possible.

It is particularly important to pack the small stones well at the lower levels to increase the rate of siltation. a V. Even wider spacing could be adopted. The structure is finished off with a cap of large stones. and the centre packed with smaller stones. This should be built up gradually following the required sideslope. Step Five The skill of construction is in the use of large stones (preferably of 30 cm diameter or more) for the casing of the wall. The dam wall should be level throughout its length. which can be checked by the use of a water tube or line level. of 100 cm might be more realistic. As a compromise. Therefore for dams of 70 cm that the top of one structure is at the same level as the base of the one above it (see Figure 54). . an appropriate vertical interval (VI) should be selected. The earth should be deposited upslope and the trench filled with gravel or small stones. the VI should theoretically be 70 cm. It should be possible to walk on the structure without any stones falling off. start at the top of the valley and work down.The first action after aligning the extension arms of the dam is to dig a trench at least 10 cm deep and 280 cm wide (according to the base width of the bund). Technically speaking it is correct to: a.I. b. The whole length of the bund should be built simultaneously. However in practice this may not be practicable due to the amount of stone and labour involved. Step Six If a series of permeable rock dams is to be built. Earth should not be mixed with the stone because it may be washed out and thus destabilize the structure. use a VI equal to the height of the structure . This layered approach reduces the risk of damage by floods during construction. The vertical interval can be determined most easily by the use of a line-level. and the "missing" structures "filled in" afterwards. in layers.

For example. and this will further improve the crop growth. or tunneling of water beneath the bund which will need packing with small stones. is rich in nutrients.7 m and a 1% land slope. even small. HI . should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent rapid deterioration. It will tolerate some overtopping in heavy floods. 5. This technique is used exclusively for annual crops.7 m and a 2% land slope. where moisture availability is a limiting factor. for a VI of 0. which do not retain moisture for long. HI = (0. sediment.(0. with its low side slopes and wide base should not require any significant maintenance work provided the described construction method is carefully observed. the crops change to .7 x 100)/2 = 35 metres Figure 54.8. No structure in any water harvesting system is entirely maintenance free and all damage.5 Husbandry Permeable rock dams improve conditions for plant growth by spreading water. Nevertheless there may be some stones washed off. the most common crops are millet and groundnuts.8. Spacing of rock dams (Source: Berton 1989) 5.The horizontal spacing between adjacent dams can be determined from the selected VI and the prevailing land slope according to the formula: HI = (VI x 100)/%slope where: HI = horizontal interval (m) VI = vertical interval (m) % slope = land gradient expressed as a percentage. which will build up behind the bund over the seasons. As the soils become heavier. In the sandier soils.4 Maintenance The design given above.7 x 100)/1 = 70 metres For a VI of 0. In addition. which will require replacing.

large quantities of stone needed. and much emphasis is put on careful construction. The project supplies transport of stone. by lorries with removable skips. The water no longer spreads and the land is parched and eroding. outside assistance often necessary for transport of stone. and therefore rice is grown in these zones. due to the natural flooding during the rains. siting is often determined by the people rather than the technicians. In the mid 1980s a number of projects began to test permeable rock dams across these valleys. which should be provided free of charge to the beneficiaries. PATECORE. waterlogging would affect most crops. it is necessary to cooperate in construction. As the structures cannot be made by individual farmers. It is unrealistic to expect implementation of such a programme without outside help for transport of stones.6 Socio-economic factors The implementation of permeable rock dams raises several important socio-economic issues. Within one series of permeable rock dams. at Kongoussi specializes in permeable rock dams. The dams are built according to the specifications given in the layout and construction section of this chapter. free of charge. A recently established project. 5. Long-term sustainability and replicability of the form of development would best be promoted if beneficiaries could establish revolving funds for the hire or purchase of transport. c. It would be ideal if a village committee can be formed to co-ordinate efforts and discuss the situation of priority sites and beneficiaries. 5. Where soils are heavy and impermeable.8. limited number of direct beneficiaries. PROFILE: Permeable Rock Dams on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso Traditionally the gently sloping valleys of the Central Plateau in Burkina Faso have been the most productive farmland. Many of these are rather specific to this technique.9 Water spreading bunds . d. or "filtering floodwater spreaders" as the project calls them. This is because permeable rock dams are characterized by: a. The villagers have been very enthusiastic and there is great demand for assistance. reflecting the variations in soil and drainage conditions. All the labour is provided by the local community. with impressive results. who are fully involved in site selection and village land-use planning. Villagers are trained in setting out and construction supervision. However much of the surrounding land has become degraded and the increased runoff has caused gullies in the valley bottoms. b.sorghum and maize. several species of crop may be grown.

6 Socio-economic Factors 5.2 Technical Details 5. as their name implies. Figure 55 Flow diversion system with water spreading bunds in Pakistan (Source: Nas 1980) .9.5 Husbandry 5.5. which are usually made of earth. usually where runoff discharges are high and would damage trapezoidal bunds or where the crops to be grown are susceptible to the temporary waterlogging. The bunds. which is a characteristic of trapezoidal bunds.9.3 Layout and construction 5. The major characteristic of water spreading bunds is that.9.9. they are intended to spread water.1 Background Water spreading bunds are often applied in situations where trapezoidal bunds are not suitable. and not to impound it.1 Background 5.9.9. They are usually used to spread floodwater which has either been diverted from a watercourse or has naturally spilled onto the floodplain.9. thus allowing it to infiltrate.4 Maintenance 5. slow down the flow of floodwater and spread it over the land to be cultivated.

9. Slopes: most suitable for slopes of 1% or below.2 Technical Details i. normally hyper-arid/arid areas only. .5.350 mm. Suitability Water spreading bunds can be used under the following conditions: Rainfall: 100 mm . Soils: alluvial fans or floodplains with deep fertile soils.

ii. each with a single short upslope wing. crops or fodder are planted between the bunds. and a top width of 50 cm. A maximum bund length of 100 metres is recommended.5%. Catchment: cultivated area ratio The precise calculation of a catchment: cultivated area ratio is not practicable or necessary in the design of most water spreading bunds. and furthermore often only part of the wadi flow is diverted to the productive area. graded bunds can be used (Figure 59). iii. The land must be sited close to a wadi or another watercourse. which are sited at 50 metres apart. This technique is most appropriate for arid areas where floodwater is the only realistic choice for crop or fodder production. Bund design a. b. The reasons are that the floodwater to be spread is not impounded . where the structures are merely straight open ended bunds sited across the slope. which "baffle" (slow and spread) the flow. The technique of floodwater farming using water spreading bunds is very site-specific. is a series of graded that the overflow around one should be intercepted by that below it. which spread the flow gradually downslope. Bunds.5% to 1. The first is for slopes of less than 0. Thus the quantity of water actually utilized cannot be easily predicted from the catchment size. 4.5%. The uniform cross section of the bunds is recommended to be 60 cm high. This gives stable side slopes of 3:1.1 metres base width. straight bunds are used to spread water. are graded along a ground slope of 0.much continues to flow through the system. Both ends are left open to allow floodwater to pass around the bunds. The second. Slopes of 0. Overall configuration Two design examples are given.Topography: even. Slopes of less than 0. of constant cross-section.0% In this slope range. usually on a floodplain with alluvial soils and low slopes. Bunds should overlap . In each case.25%. for slopes greater than 0.5%. Each .5% Where slopes are less than 0. iv.

The maximum length of a base bund is recommended to be 100 metres. Table 26. Examples for different slopes are given in Figures 58 and 59. the slope of the land. and that given in this manual is merely one example.0. The bund cross section is the same as that recommended for contour bunds on lower slopes. Quantities and labour Table 26 gives details of the quantities and labour involved in construction of water spreading bunds for different slope classes.below 0. A short wingwall is constructed at 135° to the upper end of each bund to allow interception of the flow around the bund above.5% 2 200 275 Graded bunds .successive bund in the series downslope is graded from different ends.38 square metres is assumed. A bund cross section of 1. Much depends on the quantity of water to be spread.1. Labour requirements are relatively high because of the large sized structures requiring soil to be carried.0% 3 330 455 vi. QUANTITIES OF EARTHWORKS FOR WATER SPREADING BUNDS Slope class/technique No. Figure 56 Bund dimensions v. bunds per ha Total bund length (m) Earthworks (m3/ha) Level bunds . the type of soil and the .5% 2 220 305 . This has the effect of further checking the flow. The spacing between bunds depends on the slope of the land. Design variations There are many different designs for water spreading bunds possible.

Turkana. Setting out of level bunds: groundslope < ft 5% . Kenya (Source: Fallon 1963) Figure 58. Existing systems are always worth studying before designing new systems.labour available. Figure 57. Impala Pilot Water Spreading Scheme.

Having selected the starting point at the upslope end of the bund system point A is marked with a peg. which also illustrates the setting out procedure. Step Two Straight bunds are used for ground slopes of less than 0. or with a line level. Using a line or water level and. The bunds should. as described in the appendix. however. . if necessary. be staggered as shown on Figure 58.5. This can be done most simply with an Abney level.9. in order to select the appropriate bunding system.5% and are spaced at 50 m intervals.3 Layout and construction Step One The first step is to measure the slope of the land.

Using a line. is marked with pegs or stones. Point E is also on the same ground level as point C. on the centre line of the second bund. Step Three For ground slopes above 0. The line DE is the centreline of the second bund and should be marked with pegs or stones. Similarly point H is at the same ground level as point F but 75 m distant. the line AB is set out on a 0. Note that point D will be at a slightly higher ground level than point C and should provide overlap with the line AB. 80 cm) and a tape. but 75 m distant in the opposite direction to point D.25% slope line is again established and point D located along that line 25 m from C.a tape.25% gradient are used and are termed "graded bunds". point B is pegged on the contour 100 m away from A. Having established C the 0. using a wooden triangular right angle frame (sides: 100 cm. Point B is then marked with a peg and the line AB. the ground level at B is 25 cm below that at A. is . It is most easily found by using the line or water level to establish the maximum field gradient between B and C. 60 cm. in the opposite direction to point G. point E. forming the centreline of the first bund. Point C. Line AB is then the centreline of the first bund and should be marked with pegs or stones. as shown in Figure 59. is at a distance of 25 m immediately downslope of point B. The other end of the bund centreline. and by measuring from B through that point a distance of 25 m. Point G is then established on the same ground level as point F but 25 m distant to allow overlap with DE. This process can be repeated down the slope to lay out the field of bunds. at a distance of 25 m from C to allow overlap with AB. Point C is 50 m downslope from point B and can be established by marking of a right angle perpendicular to AB. or water level. Having selected the starting point (A) at the upslope end of the bund system.25% gradient. Point F is 50 m downslope of point E and is established in a similar manner as point C. Point D is then established with level and tape at the same ground level as C. and a tape. Point D is then pegged. As the distance AB is 100 m. it is marked with a peg.5% bunds aligned with a 0.

The first point on the next bund line.25% slope line. is located in a similar manner to point E and the bend centreline HFG can be set out as above. This process is continued down the field. point F. Point Y is then a distance of 17.5% Step Four . The end of the wing bund. The wing bund is 25 m long and at an angle of 135° to the base bund. Setting out of graded bunds: groundslope > 0. The wing bund always starts from the overlapping end of the base bund.75 m on the opposite side of C along the 0. It is most easily found by extending the line ED a distance of 17. The points D and E should be pegged and mark the centreline of the second bund. W. It can be located using a tape and right angle template as described above. and at a right angle to the line XDE. can be located in a similar manner as Y. in this case point D. Figure 59.7 m from D to give point X.7 m upslope from point X.

when used in arid areas with erratic rainfall.if loose stone is available to reduce potential damage from flow around the bunds. breaches are possible in the early stages of the first season. In subsequent seasons the risk of breaching is diminished.5 Husbandry Water spreading bunds are traditionally used for annual crops. 5. and particularly cereals. is that sowing of the crop should be undertaken in response to . and at the tip of the wingwalls of the graded bunds.Having marked out the centrelines of the bunds.9. Sorghum and millet are the most common. and reduces direct rainfall damage to the structures. the limits of fill can be marked by stakes or stones placed at a distance of 2. and in the shallow trenches formed.which helps bind the soil together. 5.4 Maintenance As is the case in all water harvesting systems based on earth bunds.9. Thus there must be planning for repair work where necessary and careful inspection after all runoff events. stone pitching should be placed . One particular feature of this system. and repairs may be needed at any stage. The bunds are constructed in two layers of 30 cm each. damaging floods will inevitably occur from time to time. Nevertheless with systems which depend on floodwater. Step Six At the ends of the contour bunds. before consolidation has taken place. The earth beneath the bunds should be loosened to ensure a good mating with the bund.05 m on either side of the centrelines. and compaction by trampling is recommended on the first course and again when the bund is complete. Step Five Construction begins at the top of the field as in all water harvesting systems. when the bunds have consolidated and been allowed to develop vegetation . earth ties should be foreseen at frequent intervals to prevent scouring. Earth should be excavated from both sides to form the bunds.

consideration has to be given to community organization. and minimum of 75 cm in height. The improvements being introduced are large earth diversion embankments in the main or subsidiary channels. is not fixed but can be quite wide . Weed growth however tends to be more vigorous due to the favourable growing conditions. Further floods will bring the crop to maturity. soil fertility is rarely a constraint to crop production. 5. Plate 17.9. Some machinery is employed. and spread the diverted flow. rather than genuine motivation. Once again this highlights the potential danger of incentives. which should be the driving force. However if the crop fails from lack of subsequent flooding . or approximately on. The direct contribution by rainfall to growth is often very little.up to 200 metres apart. and then a series of spreading bunds or "terraces". traditional water spreading schemes are being rehabilitated and improved under the technical guidance of the Soil Conservation Administration. are usually sited on. but manual labour supported by incentives is also used. which gives assurance of germination and early establishment. It has often been experienced that people consider it mainly as a job opportunity and lose any interest in the scheme once the project (and the incentives!) have come to an end. in the typically almost flat landscape. One particular problem is that the site of the activity may be distant from the widely scattered homes of the beneficiaries. Seeds should be sown into residual moisture after a flood. the contour.6 Socio-economic Factors As the implementation of water spreading systems is a relatively largescale exercise.the cultivator should be prepared to replant.flooding. Sorghum in wadi (Red Sea Hills) PROFILE Water Spreading in Eastern Sudan In the Red Sea Province of Eastern Sudan. Because water spreading usually takes place on alluvial soils. The spacing between bunds. An opportunistic attitude is required. Bunds are usually up to 150 metres long. and thus early weeding is particularly important. These bunds.or if it is buried by silt or sand (as sometimes happens) . In this semi-desert region natural flooding in wadi beds is the traditional site for cropping of sorghum by the semi-nomadic population. In areas where crop production is a novelty it may be risky to provide incentives such as food for work rations to potential beneficiaries participating in the construction of such a crop production system. .

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