Today, rain is still the cheapest and often only available source of water for agricultural purposes, albeit not always reliable. In many dry regions of the world there is no alternative but a better and more effective use of rain to increase food production. This is the essence and potential significance of runoff farming in a hungry world.
Pyneham farm in Frankland, Australia, aims to achieve total control of water movement and use by performing water management activities at the catchment scale, not just within the boundaries of the individual farmer's property. The strategy is community-based and requires both co-operation and co-ordination among all farmers in the catchment area. The key factors in implementing and managing this scheme are a series of drains to control the nature and rate of water movement after rainfall events and tree planting which provides a way of utilizing deep moisture. The improved water catchment has enabled the development of a diversified approach to agriculture which has enhanced the economic viability of the farm through the improved environment and restoration of degraded lands. Livestock carrying capacity has increased and more fertile land is now available for cropping. An economic analysis of the farm has concluded that gross margins for crops are more than double the local average and for sheep almost four times the average.