Introducing water harvesting technology is expected to be more effective and last longer if farm households are involved in their design. The main objective of this study is to inform policymakers in Ethiopia about the most important terms and conditions to incentivize farmers to enter into a contractual agreement to invest in water harvesting on their land. In order to test the influence of the way the specific contractual terms and conditions are communicated to farm households, many of whom are illiterate, a split sample approach is applied with and without visual aids for technical, institutional, and economic contract characteristics. Both samples generate significantly different results, highlighting the importance of how information is conveyed to farm households. This pattern is confirmed when examining the self-reported importance attached to the various contract characteristics. Equality Constrained Latent Class models show that contract characteristics for which visual aids were developed are considered more attentively, emphasizing the importance of adequate communication tools in a developing country context where literacy rates are limited to increase water technology innovation uptake and reduce farm household vulnerability to droughts.