FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO launches a Rainwater Harvesting webinar series aiming to provide an overview of applications and illustrates the diversity of approaches.

30 May 2022 - Water scarcity is a critical challenge in countries and regions with arid and semi-arid conditions and fast-growing water demands. This is mostly the case in all of the countries across the Near East and North Africa (NENA) Region, where food demand and food insecurity continue to grow, widening the water supply-demand gap in most countries. Furthermore, the anticipated impact of climate change in the NENA region is indicative towards an increased intensity in rainstorms and flashfloods, while the total amount of annual precipitation rates show declining trends.

Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) is considered a valuable water source, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas across the world, where (i) a large portion of the soil moisture is lost through evapotranspiration and (ii) most rainfall events are of intensity higher than the soil infiltration rates, resulting in less water available to plants and higher soil erosion with runoff flowing towards non-beneficial sinks. RWH can be considered both a practice and a technology for harvesting and retaining rainwater for beneficial use. It is seen as a valuable, relatively simple, and low-cost approach that can be adapted to provide several benefits in agriculture, as well as in rural, urban and peri-urban areas.

During the last 20 years, interest has been renewed in RWH as one of the most effective climate adaptation strategies to cope with water scarcity, thus reducing the pressure on the limited freshwater resources and increasing rainfed crop productivity.

This webinar series aims to provide an overview of RWH applications and illustrates, with country examples, the diversity of approaches. It will try to demonstrate the options to unlock the potential of rainwater harvesting applications in the NENA region by highlighting the role of rainwater management in overcoming the current challenges in achieving water security. It will also shed the light on the need for of innovations in economics, social consensus and supportive laws and regulations to ensure a widespread uptake of RWH technologies in the NENA region.

Main objectives of the webinar series include:

1. Exploring and upgrading principles, methods and techniques in Rainwater Harvesting across various countries and regions;

2. Building capacity in planning, designing, implementing and operating RWH systems;

3. Enhancing guided decisions on the selection of a single or a blend of various RWH techniques, for diverse projects and setups;

4. Promoting a community of practices on RWH among the countries of the NENA Region and beyond;

5. Providing the participants with a complete and advanced set of documentation on the various topics treated during the webinar series.

The webinar series is starting on 31st May in the form of 10 logical and consecutive main modules that, comprehensively, provide clarity and complete answers to lingering questions and doubts regarding the adequacy and accuracy of the use of the RWH applications in different contexts.

There are two webinars available for an Introduction to Rain Water Harvesting. The first webinar “Setting the scene” and the second webinar “Showcasing Global and Regional RWH Applications for Agro-Ecosystems and Cropping Systems” will provide an overview of RWH systems, the objectives of RWH and its main applications, the classification and suitable conditions for RWH by show-casing various regional and international RWH applications for agro-ecosystems and cropping systems.

This webinar series is implemented within the framework of the Water Scarcity Initiative of the FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa, and with the support of the regional SIDA-funded project “Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Water Efficiency/ Productivity and Sustainability in NENA countries”. The webinar series is co-organized by the FAO newly established inter-Regional Technical Platform on Water Scarcity (iRTP-WS), in collaboration with ICARDA and ICID.

For more information on the webinar series, kindly check the Rainwater Harvesting webinar series page here.