The decline of rainwater harvesting, or indigenous water systems, in Yemen is happening at a time when people are facing droughts and flash floods. Although Yemen is a country with a rich history in traditional harvesting systems, Yemen does not have enough surface water and the depletion of groundwater is alarming. A revival of water systems in rural areas is important to sustain the population.
It is important to understand the decline of the systems of what could be done about it. The purpose of the research was to identify the underlying factors of the decline in the Sana’a Basin as a case study and considered ways to reverse it.
With the increasing costs of living and fuel and the lack of consistent energy sources, access to water is becoming more challenging. Yemen has a rich history of indigenous water systems which provide sustainable solutions that are localised and would have a great impact on the wellbeing and livelihoods of people living in rural areas.
Groundwater in Yemen is depleting rapidly at an average of two to eight metres per year. In Sana’a Basin alone, there are over 1500 groundwater wells which have dried up which shows how serious this problem is. This rapid depletion has become, in a way, an incentive for farmers to revive indigenous systems that can alleviate the water crises they are facing. There have been positive outcomes in Amran where rainwater harvesting was successful and helped the farmers mitigate the crisis. There are many examples but government support and effective interventions are needed in order to help the farmers revive these systems.
The methodology for this paper was using a rough set analysis to analyse 100 interviews with farmers, 65 interviews with experts and 22 rainwater harvesting system visits.