Smart 3R solutions give small farmers an action perspective for rain water management

On Tuesday, Dr. Ania Grobicki, Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership, referred to the 
Smart 3R Solutions booklet during a high level AMCOW/GWP panel discussion on climate resilience 
in Africa as “complementary to the declaration since it offers practical climate resilience solutions on 
a grass root level, particularly in rain-fed agriculture dependent economies”. Having the words of 
2014 Stockholm Water Prize laureate John Briscoe still fresh in our minds: “At the end of the day, it is 
what happens on the ground that matters”, the launch of the Smart 3R Solutions booklet is right on 
time. The launch follows this momentum and met with wide acceptance at the Stockholm World Water Week.

Recharging, retaining and reusing water (3R) enables small farmers to cope with water shortages or 

floods. This secures cropping and livelihoods not just for the rainy season, but also often times well 
into the dry season.
The Smart 3R solutions developed by the Dutch 3R consortium gives the small farmers concrete 
options to buffer rainwater in wet seasons, in the subsoil for use during the dry season. 
Examples of such smart and accessible solutions include the construction of pits on locations where 
the rainwater runs off. The runoff collects in these pits and then infiltrates in the subsoil recharging 
the groundwater. Another example is the construction of stone bunds that prevent the rainwater to 
run off and being retained on the field.
“The 3R concept is developed by local land and water specialists working on water projects in water-stressed areas”, explains director Guus Paardekooper of the Rain Foundation and active participant 
of the Netherlands Water Partnership, who co-produced the booklet. His organisation is one of the 
developers of the concept, which has successfully been applied in many catchments all over the 
world.
Six case studies of 3R applications have been documented in the Smart 3R Solutions booklet. This 
contribution is to inspire the implementation of rain water management by smart and accessible 
measures in the context of the (sub) catchment areas.