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YEMEN: New plan envisages more effective rainwater harvesting
Big dams were not well established in a way that helps feed basins, said al-Junaid
SANAA, 17 July 2008 (IRIN) - A senior official at Yemen's Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) has said a plan has been drafted to boost the country’s water resources and make water for drinking and irrigation more readily available.
Hussein al-Junaid, deputy water and environment minister, who is also an engineer, said the plan is designed to ensure effective management of water resources and rainwater harvesting through the building of water barriers, small dams, concrete tanks in valleys, and water harvesting systems in or on houses.
"The quantity of rainwater per year [falling on Yemen] is estimated at 68-73 billion cubic metres, very little of which is used. Over 40 percent evaporates. Rainwater is not adequately used in feeder basins and irrigation," al-Junaid told IRIN.
By 2010, the plan would analyse data on climate change and the impact on water resources, wetlands, Yemen’s coastline that stretches over 2,200km, archipelagos and islands. It would also improve climate change surveillance and rainfall monitoring by providing stations with modern technology and trained workers.
Entitled A Road Map to Harvesting Rainwater in Yemen, the plan does not require highly-advanced techniques or technologies, the deputy minister said. Harvesting rain in Sanaa
The plan envisages Sanaa city as the first target, because its basin is in a critical condition, and rainwater collected there is not being exploited. The water-level diminution rate in the Sanaa basin was 5 percent per year, the plan said.
The plan aims to gather and harvest 70 percent of rainwater by 2012 in Sanaa and use that to feed the Sanaa basin and provide drinking and irrigation water to the city.
According to the plan, other parts of the country would collect 40 percent of the rainwater by 2020 for the same purpose.
The plan also envisages gathering and harvesting 100 percent of the rainwater in Sanaa city by 2020, and in other areas like Taiz city in the south, and big valleys such as Hassan, Tuban and Bana, by 2030.
The plan analyses the likely impact of the weather on water resources, and this is used as the basis for plans to mitigate the effects of climate change.
According to the MWE's National Strategy for Reforming the Water Sector 2005, the amount of water used in the country in 2000 was 3,400 million cubic metres (mcm) - about 25 percent more than renewed water resources. The latter are estimated at 2,100-2,500 mcm. The resulting imbalance (shortfall) was about 1,000 mcm in 2005.
The plan also noted that per capita water use in Yemen was 261 cubic metres (cu. m) per year, whilst the global average was 7,500 cu. m.