“Floods are not always a hazard. They may also sustain aquatic life and riverine biodiversity, recharge aquifers, enrich soilds and in some of the world’s poorest areas they are the main source of irrigation.” — Global Water Partnership (2000) ‘Toward water security: a framework for action
Spate irrigation is the art and science of managing floods for irrigation. It is unique to arid and semi-arid environments, found in the Middle East, North Africa, West Asia, East Africa and parts of Latin America.
In this video, Frank van Steenbergen takes us through examples of traditional engineering in Hadramawt, Yemen. Designed to manage flood discharges from an inland river, the origin of these structures is centuries old. The farmers, however, have also been using modern construction material and techniques to reinforce them and enhance their utility.