Rainwater harvesting, a “soft path” approach towards water management, is increasingly recognized as a key strategy for combating food insecurity and water scarcity. This presentation uses the South India as a case study to explore the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of rainwater harvesting systems for smallholder agriculture. Our research team has evaluated the viability of centuries-old rainwater harvesting tanks under current climate and population pressures, culminating in a new approach for developing water sustainability indicators that better reflect interacting human and environmental processes.
Eric Tate currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa’s Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of flood hazards, water resources and social vulnerability, primarily focusing on the development of geospatial indicators to examine environment-society interactions. Dr. Tate earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering at Rice University, an M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of South Carolina.