Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 205–214 | Cite as

A new rainwater harvesting and recycling system for transforming sloping land into terraced farmland

  • Yuan-zhi Shi
  • Yue-hong Wang
  • Yuan-lai CuiEmail author
  • Shi-wu Wang
  • Yu-shuai Zhang


Transforming sloping land into terraced land is an effective approach to cope with the problems including farmland shortage and severe soil erosion. This paper introduces a new system based on rainwater harvesting and recycling technology, which may effectively improve farmland productivity rainwater use efficiency and reduce water and fertilizer inputs. The new system consists of three subsystems: 1) A plough layer with the dual function of crop cultivation and rainwater harvesting; 2) A tank below the plough layer for storing water; 3) An irrigation-drainage subsystem. The plough layer and the storage tank, both treated for reducing seepage, are connected through the irrigation and drainage system. Results showed that, compared with the traditional paddy fields, rice evapotranspiration (and crop coefficient) in the test field remained at a similar level, while the irrigation amount was reduced by 44.3% under the condition of basin irrigation, and the drainage amount decreased by 86.6%, and the non-point source pollution was reduced to 67.7%∼87.9%, and the rainwater utilization efficiency increased by 30% and reached 95.4%, and crop yield of middle-season rice reached 9,975 kg/hm2, which was only 0.4% lower than that in the traditional paddy field in the terms of dry matter. The new technology sheds light on new possibilities for transformation of hilly sloping land.


Hills Sloping land Terraced farmland Rainwater harvesting Recycling 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D (1998) Crop evapotranspirationguidelines for computing crop water requirements. FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 300: 1–15.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett MT (2008) China’s sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?. Ecological Economics 65(4), 699–711. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.09.017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Broner I (2001) Evapotranspiration for Irrigation Scheduling. Bringing, New Mexico, USA. pp 38–50.Google Scholar
  4. Gong ZT, Chen HZ, Zhang GL, et al. (2007) Protection of arable land: Problems, causes and approaches-Discussion on protecting 0.12 billion hectare of arable land in China. Ecology and Environment 16(5): 1570–1573. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Kim MY, Seo MC, Kim MK (2007) Linking hydrometeorological factors to the assessment of nutrient loadings to streams from large-plotted paddy rice fields. Agricultural Water Management 87(2): 223–228. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2006.07.016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Krishna PV, Badarinath KVS (2006) Soil surface nitrogen losses from agriculture in India: a regional inventory within agroecological zones (2000–2001). The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 13(3): 173–182. DOI: 10.1080/13504500609469670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ministry of Land and Resources (2011) Construction specifications of high-standard farmland. Ministry of Land and Resources of the PRC, Beijing, China. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  8. Ministry of Land and Resources of the PRC (2012) The Land Use Changing Investigation Data of China in 2011. (, accessed on 2012-06-13)Google Scholar
  9. Turner BL, Meyer WB (1991) Land-use and land cover in global environmental-change-considerations for study. International Social Science Journal 43(4): 669–679.Google Scholar
  10. Wang X, Zhang W, Huang Y, et al. (2004) Modeling and simulation of point-non-point source effluent trading in Taihu Lake area: perspective of non-point sources control in China. Science of the Total Environment 325(1): 39–50. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.01.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Xu Z, Bennett M T, Tao R, et al. (2004) China’s Sloping Land Conversion Programme four years on: current situation, pending issues. International Forestry Review 6(4): 317–326. DOI: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Xue S, Liu GB, Zhang C, et al. (2011) Effects of terracing slope cropland on soil quality in Hilly Region of Loess Plateau. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering 27(4): 310–316. (In Chinese) DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1002-6819.2011.04.054Google Scholar
  13. Yang GS (2001) The process and driving forces of change in arable-land area in the Yangtze River Delta during the past 50 years. Journal of Nature Resources 16(2): 121–127. (InChinese)Google Scholar
  14. Zhang HD, Yu DS, Shi XZ, et al. (2010) Dynamics of recent cultivated land in Zhejiang Province and relevant driving factors. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology 21(12): 3120–3126. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Zheng SZ, Lu C, Ke HY (2007) The growth characteristics of single-cropping rice in different combinations of irrigation and fertilization. China Rural Water and Hydropower 10: 34–37. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  16. Zhu Q, Li Y (2004) On the theoretical and practical significant of rainwater harvesting and utilization. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 3: 60–64. (In Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuan-zhi Shi
    • 1
  • Yue-hong Wang
    • 2
  • Yuan-lai Cui
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shi-wu Wang
    • 3
  • Yu-shuai Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Water Resources and Hydropower Bureau of Fuyang CityFuyangChina
  3. 3.Zhejiang Institute of Hydraulics and EstuaryHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations