World day to combat desertification and drought

Written by Emma Meurs, on 15 June 2021

The 2021 Desertification and Drought Day to be held on 17 June will focus on turning degraded land into healthy land. Nearly three quarters of the Earth’s ice-free land has been altered by humans to meet an ever-growing demand for food, raw materials, highways and homes. Current commitments from over 100 countries specify the restoration of almost 1 billion hectares of land over the next decade – an area almost the size of China. IHE Delft is very committed to contribute to restoration. You can find a few of our projects below.

Desalination, Diplomacy and Water Reuse in the Middle-East (SCARCE)

The SCARCE project focuses on water reuse in the Middle-East since this region is considered as one of the most water scarce regions in the world. IHE Delft works closely with local partners in Jordan to strengthen local capacities such as water experts and water utilities to monitor water quality parameters in the Jordanian Gulf of Aqaba for desalination purposes. One of the most relevant aspects of this project is the seawater treatment which aims to desalinate seawater and make it more adequate for human and agricultural use.

“Water quality, water shortage and accumulation of pollutants are threats which must be addressed to maintain sustainable development in both rural and urban areas”
Nirajan Dhakal
Senior Lecturer in Water Supply Engineering

Lebanon, a country in a region witnessing one of the worst droughts

Integrating time series ET mapping into an operational irrigation management framework (ITSET)

A project that operates in Lebanon, a country in a region witnessing one of the worst droughts in several hundred years. Water use management is a key concern for Lebanon and the quantification of water requirements is important to the agricultural sector. Despite there being water projects in Lebanon, water management in agriculture (the biggest water consumer) suffers from major problems. The ultimate goal in this project is to map daily water use, daily vegetation indices, and eventually yield and water productivity in the context of a field-scale agricultural monitoring system via AgSAT, which is a mobile solution supported by Google for improved water management to ensure the use of available water resources in agriculture. 

AgSAT, the mobile solution developed by ITSET and also supported by funding from Google.org AI for Social Good initiative, is a sensor-free, cloud-based and Google-powered mobile solution that provides field-scale irrigation recommendations at the touch of a button, without the hassle of ground sensors. Wherever you are, whenever you want, and whatever your crop and irrigation system is, click on the screen or draw your field with your fingers to get the irrigation water requirement for that day and five days in advance.
Dr. Hadi Jaafar
Project Leader and Associate Professor in Irrigation Engineering and Water Management at the American University of Beirut- Lebanon

Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world

Improving water productivity and livelihoods in the Jordan Valley by using recycled wastewater and brackish groundwater in agriculture

Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Water resources (groundwater, surface water) are decreasing in quantity and under the threat of pollution, while the demand for water is increasing. Furthermore, the geopolitics of Jordan is a key factor to the fact that the country hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and Palestine causing an immense pressure on the already depleting water resources, increasing the chances for drought and desertification in the northern western parts of the country.

This project aims to research methods to combat these issues such as the efficient use of water for the largest water consumer in the country: agriculture.This sector will increasingly rely on reclaimed (treated) wastewater and on desalinated brackish groundwater. Read more about the project here.

Read more about the activities organized on the 2021 Desertification and Drought day.

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