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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 1
2
nd
Arab Water Forum Living With Water Scarcity
Cairo, November 20-23, 2011
Dieter Prinz
The Concept, Components
and Methods of
Rainwater Harvesting
Cairo, 21 Nov. 2011
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 2
Contents
O The Concept of Rainwater Harvesting (WH)
O The Components
O The Methods & Techniques of Water Harvesting
O Water Storage
O Natural Framework Conditions
O Ecological Aspects
O Summary
O Outlook
The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 3
Rainwater Harvesting
Other terms under the umbrella of water harvesting:
Runoff irrigation
Runoff farming
Spate irrigation (= Floodwater harvesting)
- Long tradition of Rainwater Harvesting
(RWH) in MENA countries
After a number of years of neglect,
rainwater harvesting gained new interest
in recent decades.
- Living with water scarcity but one source of water is underutilized...
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 4
The Concept of Rainwater Harvesting
(with special reference to agriculture)
The basic principle of agricultural water harvesting:
to capture precipitation falling on one part of the land and
transfer it to another part (target area),
thereby increasing the amount of water available to the latter part.
Definition of water harvesting:
Collection and concentration of rainwater
and runoff and its productive use for
the irrigation of annual crops, pastures
and trees
domestic and livestock consumption and
groundwater recharge.
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 5





4-ha land
cultivated with
annual rainfall
of 150 mm


Water not
enough to
produce any
crop
2-ha land
(not
cropped)
3-ha land
(not
cropped)

1-ha land
(cropped
and more
productive)
2-ha land
(cropped
and
productive)
Two important
parameters:
CCR = Catchment :
Cropping Area Ratio
RC = Runoff
Coefficient (%)
The Concept of Water Harvesting
(with special reference to agriculture) II
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 6


Reduce
risk, allow
intensi-
fication
Reduce
flooding
risk
Recharge
ground-
water
Reduce
soil
erosion
risk

Substitute
ground-
water

Improve
living
conditions

The
Goals
The Goals of Water
Harvesting in Dry Areas
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 7
The Components
Catchment
Storage
Target
Runoff
Target
Storage
Catchment
Target
Storage
Catchment
Pond
Hill
Microcatchment Water Harvesting
Macrocatchment Water Harvesting
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 8
Natural Framework Conditions
Rainfall
Average rainfall per season
Distribution during rainy season
Intensity of rainfall
Number of rainfall events per season
100 200
300 400
mm/year
Floodwater Harvesting
Long Slopes Water Harvesting
Microcatchment Microcatchment Water Harvesting
Interannual variation
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 9
Further important parameters are:
Soil
Slope angle (inclination)
Soil
Soil depth of cropping area
(as deep as possible)
Soil type of catchment area
(for high runoff rates)
Soil quality of cropping area
(high water holding capacity)
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 10
The Methods of Water Harvesting
Overview
Water Harvesting Methods

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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 11
Techniques of Water Harvesting:
(1a) Rooftop Microcatchments
High runoff coefficient (50 90 %)
Storage of water in tanks, jars,
cisterns
Rooftop WH
Source: www.thecistern.com/storage/AquaHouseRain2.jpg.
Collecting areas (catchments):
House tops,
Roofs of commercial buildings
Greenhouses
Courtyards, roads

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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 12
Techniques of Water Harvesting:
(1b) On-farm Microcatchments
Size: 10 to 1000 m
2
CCR: 1:1 to 10:1
Simple in design
May be constructed at low cost
Techniques are easily replicable and adaptable
They have higher runoff efficiency than macro-catchment systems
No water conveyance system is needed.
There are systems suitable to any slope and crop
Treatment of catchment surface: Compacted, treated with
chemicals or covered with plastic sheets
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 13
On-farm Microcatchments, cont.
Contour
bunds
Inter-row WH for grain,
pulse and forage crops
Semi-circular bunds
for forage bushes
Catchments
Photo: ICARDA
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 14


Hafair (Photo: Oweis)
Techniques of Water Harvesting:
(2a) Macrocatchments: Long-Slope Systems
Size: 1 ha to 200 ha
CCR: 10 : 1 to 100 : 1
Runoff coefficient: 10 - 50% of annual
rainfall
Cropping areas: Terraced or in flat terrain
Hillside Runoff System
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 15
Wadi
50 150 m
Spillway Main Barrier
Tree Plantation
Diversion
Structures
Size: 200 ha to 50 km
2
CCR: 100 : 1 to 10,000 : 1 or more
Engineering skills needed
Upstream downstream
problems on water resources use
likely
Source: GTZ, redrawn
Techniques of Water Harvesting:
(2b) Floodwater Systems: Floodwater Spreading
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 16


Jessour system as
applied in Tunisia
Photo: Oweis
Floodwater Systems: Jessour
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 17
17
Water Storage
Storage Media
Pond
Soil
Tank Cistern
Reservoir
Storage of runoff is a
precondition for
Supplemental Irrigation
(if other water sources are
not at hand)
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting
18
Dry reservoir in a watershed in NE Libya
Problems:
No data on rain intensities
No data on event duration
No water infiltration data
No soil storage data
Water Storage in Ponds
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 19
Ecological Aspects
Wetlands may dry up, if runoff is alienated for agricultural purposes
When catchments are cleared, compacted or otherwise treated, this has got
an impact on biodiversity and very often on the extent of soil erosion, too.
Water harvesting makes to a large extent use of water, which otherwise would
have been lost to atmosphere without any benefit
Water harvesting can reduce the quantities of water which otherwise would
have been extracted from renwable or unrenewable groundwater or from
permanent rivers.
The water harvested should be utilized in an effective way, using suitable
crops (which can tolerate some days of inundation as well as dry periods),
cropping techniques and irrigation modes.
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 20
In the past, water harvesting has been not only a source of drinking water, but the
backbone of agriculture in dry MENA areas.
After a decline, it gained new interest during past decades.
For larger projects it will be necessary,
to supply skilled personel for the hydrological
& engineering planning and execution,
to offer microcredits and/or subsidies to
farmers by the government.
Outlook
To make full use of the potential of water harvesting,
suitable areas have to be identified (by using remote sensing data, GIS, field visits)
the farmers have to be convinced and trained; their participation in the decision-
making process is essential,
demonstration and (on-farm or on-station) research activities have to be started.
Suitable laws and regulations related to land and water (runoff) use should be available.
Water Harvesting project in
Kayes Province, Mali
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 21
The future role of water
harvesting will be as a
linking element between
rainfed agriculture and
irrigated agriculture.
Soil- and
Water
Conser-
vation
Irrigated
Agriculture
Rainfed
Agriculture
Water
Harvesting
Supple-
mental
Irrigation
When planning water
harvesting projects, the
principles of IWRM shall
be applied.
The WH design should
reflect the future impact of
Global Climate Change.
Outlook, cont.
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 22
Summary
Water harvesting = The collection of runoff and its use for the irrigation
of annual crops, pastures and trees, and for human and livestock
consumption.
Main components: The runoff area, the target and the
storage medium.
Catchment
Storage
Target
Runoff
The water is stored in the soil, in tanks, in cisterns,
ponds or reservoirs.
Methods & techniques: Two different groups of
techniques are distinguished, defined by the ratio
between collecting and receiving area: Micro- and
Macrocatchment Water Harvesting.
Each group comprises a wide variety of different techniques, serving
the different natural and socio-economic conditions.
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 23
The future role of water harvesting will be
as a linking element between rainfed and irrigated agriculture,
using untapped water resources and
alleviating the stress of drought-ridden rural societies.

THANK YOU !
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 24
prof.prinz@t-online.de
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Prinz, Karlsruhe, Germany: The Concept, Components and Methods of Rainwater Harvesting 25


















Water Harvesting Methods

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