Blog Femke – Let the rains begin!

I am more than a month in Kuku and the research setup is ready. The picture below gives a sneak peek of my study area: an overland flow setup, a setup to measure semi-circular bund rainwater retention, a soil moisture station, a rain gauge and a weather station.

So, let the rains begin! After months of no precipitation, it rained over 60 millimeters. For your perspective, in Kuku it rains approximate 450 millimeters a year. This one shower transformed the landscape drastically. Before you could almost only see bare soil between the trees, but everything is so green now. However, a fraction of the (valuable!) rainwater is not stored by the soil, but washed away. In the picture below, a 135 liter barrel which is part of my overland flow setup is almost full after just one rain event.

Of my whole research, I am most exited to find out what the effect will be of semi-cercular bunds on the water balance. To find this out, I measure the water balance elements in a plot with and without semi-circular bunds. After some weeks of data collection, I could not resist to post one chart of my first soil moisture data. As you can see, the mean soil moisture content of the plot with the bunds is noticeably higher. Looks promising!


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