Fahad Kimera


Fresh water is a finite and a vulnerable resource that sustains life, development, and the environment. Approximately 80% of the world’s cultivable land depends on rainfall, interestingly rain-fed production produces up to 70% of the global food supply yet it’s the same system that has been threatened with frequent dry spells and long term droughts. Estimates show that uncertain weather conditions and insufficient water for irrigation could lead agricultural productivity in several countries to fall by up to 50% over the next decade, severely affecting their prospects of greater social and economic development. Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of any farm water either runoff or creek flow for irrigation use. Rainwater harvesting for supplemental irrigation is currently the best practice to mitigate the escalating issue of water shortage caused by concurrent agricultural droughts. One form of mitigating the negative effects of such droughts and dry spells is the establishment of small scale simple low cost supplemental irrigation schemes in rain-fed agriculture. This is to reduce the extent of crop failures and as well increase the water use efficiency WUE of crops. In a developing country like Uganda where more than 80% of the population lives in rural areas and their lives depends on rain-fed agriculture. Droughts and dry spells have greater consequences to the peoples’ survival and development. This study presents a sustainable economic solution for the problem of crop yield reduction due to short droughts during the rainy season, more particularly for maize as a staple crop. It aims at reducing maize crop failures by supplying supplemental irrigation during the critical growth stages of the plant. It employs FAO’s water productivity model (Aquacrop) to estimate and predict the potential economic benefits of supplemental irrigation as well as the cost benefit analysis to examine the optimization of the supplemental system. Results show that applying supplemental irrigation in case of low soil moisture during the critical stages of maize can have greater crop yield increments. Optimization of the system is achieved when a farmer sacrifices about 5% of his hectare piece of land to establish a runoff lined storage pond of 800 cubic meters by volume along with a diesel pump for water lifting using furrow irrigation. Using such volume of PVC lined pond covered with a natural mat of growing Azolla plant on the water surface can give optimum yields on a one hectare crop land. Azolla, the aquatic floating fern has multi benefits, however, its primary importance in this study is keeping the water pond environmentally safety. The proposed supplemental irrigation scheme has a payback period of 6 years.

Degree Name

MS in Sustainable Development

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2018

First Advisor

Sewilam, Hani

Committee Member 1

Imam, Emad


111 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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First I would like to thank the Center for Sustainable Development at the American University in Cairo (AUC) for giving me the outstanding opportunity to pursue my Masters of Science in Sustainable Development. I would also like to thank the African Graduate Fellowship Program at AUC for sponsoring my studies. I am especially grateful to Prof. Dr Adham Ramadan and Mrs. Sawsan Mardini for making this opportunity a reality. I am also grateful and thankful to Prof. Dr. Hani Sewilam the Director and Professor at the Center for Sustainable Development Program at AUC and main Advisor for my thesis, for his endless support and professional advice from the beginning till the end of the whole research period. Additionally I would like to thank Mr. Mohamed Khaled – the Secretary and coordinator for Sustainable Development Program for his generous support. Furthermore I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Prof. Dr. Emad Imam, the Professor of Hydraulics and Water Resources and second Advisor for this thesis, for his continuous guiding and advising during the whole research process. I want also to thank my examiners Prof. Dr. Hoda Soussa and Prof. Dr. Ahmed El-Gendy for their valuable remarks for my work. I would like to thank everyone who helped me in the process of data collection and field visits. These include but not limited to: The Nile Basin Initiative in Uganda for providing me with professional support and relevant data, The Uganda National Meteorological center in Kampala for providing the climatic data, Busitema University Moslem Students Association in Arapai campus for their support while in the field, Mr. Moses Ojara - a soil analyst, Soroti Farmers groups that supported me during the field visits and Mr. Godfrey Ofwono for his technical and constructional services that made this project a reality. Special thanks to my colleagues and friends who supported me in my research: Mr. Kareem Saleh – MBA, Chimsom Chikumeka, Eric Zadok, Mugwanya Muziri, Kegere James, Sendaaza Charles, Ogwang Joel, Nambafu Doreen, and all my classmates in the Sustainable Development class Fall 2015. I would like to have my deepest thanks to my parents – Mr. Musa Ssuna and Mrs. Rukiyah Ssuna, my brothers and sisters for their support and encouragement throughout the whole studies. Special thanks go to my wife Laila Musa Kimera and son Jasim Malik Kimera for their patience and Motivation throughout the whole research process. Lastly I would like to send my heartfelt prayers to the mother of my son Aisha Nabiddo who passed away during the course of the research process, May the Almighty God have mercy on her soul.