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Revitalizing Indigenous Water Harvesting System to mitigate drought and Flood Damage – Yemen

  • 5 September, 2014
  • IHE Delft, Land & Water Management
  • Prof. dr. ir. C.M.S. de Fraiture
  • Dr. L. Hayde

Yemen is severely affected by droughts and severe ongoing water problems and flashflood hazards. Several researches and forecasts suggest that the severity of these water problems including severe drop in groundwater levels, will increase in the near future, especially in the capital city of Sana’a, the first capital in the world that may run out of water. However, while Yemen is facing droughts and desertification, the dense and short-lived heavy rains are being lost as they are not harvested and managed in order to grow crops, irrigate rangeland or replenish diminished groundwater.
It is believed that the water scarcity problems in Yemen led previous generations to develop and employ a great variety of traditional Water Harvesting (WH) techniques. Many old WH structures can still be seen, but are no longer in use. However, these diverse and widely practiced WH techniques are either in decline or have been completely abandoned. There is no detailed research as to why these systems were abandoned, and to what extent revitalizing them would address the current drought and flashflood hazards. This research aims to address the causes and influences of abandoning traditional Yemeni Rainwater Harvesting techniques and the potential impact of their revival on mitigating droughts and flashfloods. Social study and hydrological and statistical modelling of various scenarios will be carried out. In addition, to study the expected impact of revival of these traditional techniques, historical records of rain fall will be examined and Sana’a basin will act as a case study for this research.

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Musaed Aklan

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