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Open AccessArticle

A Methodology to Assess and Evaluate Rainwater Harvesting Techniques in (Semi-) Arid Regions

Wageningen University, Soil Physics and Land Management Group, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
University of Anbar, 31001 Ramadi, Iraq
Institut des Régions Arides, Route de Djorf km 22.5, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ataur Rahman
Water 2016, 8(5), 198;
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 13 May 2016
PDF [2902 KB, uploaded 13 May 2016]


Arid and semi-arid regions around the world face water scarcity problems due to lack of precipitation and unpredictable rainfall patterns. For thousands of years, rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques have been applied to cope with water scarcity. Researchers have used many different methodologies for determining suitable sites and techniques for RWH. However, limited attention has been given to the evaluation of RWH structure performance. The aim of this research was to design a scientifically-based, generally applicable methodology to better evaluate the performance of existing RWH techniques in (semi-) arid regions. The methodology integrates engineering, biophysical and socio-economic criteria using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) supported by the Geographic Information System (GIS). Jessour/Tabias are the most traditional RWH techniques in the Oum Zessar watershed in south-eastern Tunisia, which were used to test this evaluation tool. Fifty-eight RWH locations (14 jessr and 44 tabia) in three main sub-catchments of the watershed were assessed and evaluated. Based on the criteria selected, more than 95% of the assessed sites received low or moderate suitability scores, with only two sites receiving high suitability scores. This integrated methodology, which is highly flexible, saves time and costs, is easy to adapt to different regions and can support designers and decision makers aiming to improve the performance of existing and new RWH sites. View Full-Text
Keywords: RWH suitability; AHP approach; GIS; Tunisia; jessour; tabias RWH suitability; AHP approach; GIS; Tunisia; jessour; tabias

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Adham, A.; Riksen, M.; Ouessar, M.; Ritsema, C.J. A Methodology to Assess and Evaluate Rainwater Harvesting Techniques in (Semi-) Arid Regions. Water 2016, 8, 198.

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