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Water problems in Ta’iz, Yemen : water use in a rural area

Bisterbosch, Jasper (2008) Water problems in Ta’iz, Yemen : water use in a rural area.

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Abstract:Introduction All over the world we struggle with water problems, often there is either too much water or too little of it. In Yemen there is too little water available and the worst depletion in the world is taking place here. This is caused by the production of qat and the high population growth. The purpose of this investigation is to determine how much water a hectare of qat production uses and if it is possible to divert water from the rural area to the urban area. Determine area for research The Harbeer area has been chosen because it produces a lot of qat and is close to Ta’iz. The determination of the size of the sub-areas has done by using Google earth, because those maps are more reliable than other maps available. Pre study though questionnaire By administering the questionnaire, it became obvious that the farmers have got different values and are very poorly educated. Most of them are not able to read or write and these farmers don’t have an administration. These circumstances made it difficult to analyze the answers of the farmers on the questionnaire. Some important remarks of the farmers; they all saw the depletion as a problem and they told that higher prices of diesel, necessary to pump the water, would affect them mostly. But they would pass on the higher costs of farming to the consumers, so there is no effect on the water usage. Water balance From the water balance can be concluded that in the Harbeer area there is a water usage of 18 times the net precipitation a year. The over exploration of ground water causes a ground water declining of 10 meters a year. This can’t go on forever and will give big problems in the future. Analysis of water use for crops Qat has the highest water requirement of all crops in Yemen and in the Harbeer area it is the dominant crop. On top of this the farmers use a lot of inefficient irrigation methods. A lot of water could be saved by drip irrigation instead of flooding irrigation. Economic analysis Qat is the crop which gives the highest return, in financial terms, for a cubic meter of water and is the most profitable crop for the farmers. This is the reason why it is produced so much. Potential methods to reallocate water from agricultural to domestic purpose In Yemen the people need to become aware of their water problem. The law needs to be enforced and the farmers need to be disarmed. If that doesn’t happen a law is useless, because nobody will obey to the law. It is difficult to enforce the law when farmers take up arms and don’t accept police on their territory. When the law can be enforced, it is possible to create the boundary conditions for a water market. If the law cannot be enforced the farmers will put two pipes into the ground instead of one, so the depletion of the ground water will only go faster. This is the reason why this water market approach is not advised in the current situation. Conclusion The enforcement of law need to be improved, otherwise a law is worthless. To achieve this, the farmers need to be disarmed, so the police and army get some influence. The public awareness of the problem needs to be increased, so the farmers change their attitude to the usage of water. The farmers could change irrigation methods, for example to drip irrigation instead of flooding irrigation. The government should see qat-farmers as farmers which they don’t do at the moment, and start a promotion campaign among all farmers for drip irrigation. A water market is not advised because there is no closed system. A closed system is a system where a maximum amount of water can be used; the usage of water is equal to the net precipitation. The depletion and exhausting of the groundwater will only go faster if a water market is introduced. A water market could be taken into account as a possible option, but is not advised.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
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