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Atmospheric Research
Vol. 189, 20
17, Pages: 11–23

Rainwater harvesting possibility under climate change: A basin-scale case study over western province of Saudi Arabia

Mansour Almazroui, M. Nazrul Islam, Khaled S. Balkhair, Zek‚i Sen, Amjad Masood

Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research/Department of Meteorology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Groundwater reservoirs are important water resources all over the world. Especially, they are of utmost significance for arid and semi-arid regions, and therefore, a sustainable exploitation of these reservoirs needs to be ensured. The natural and most exclusive water supplier to groundwater reservoirs in Saudi Arabia is rainfall, which is characterized by sporadic and random temporal and spatial distributions, particularly under the impacts of climate change; giving rise to uncertainty in groundwater recharge quantification. Although in Saudi Arabia, intense and frequent rainfall events are rare, but they generate significant flash floods with huge amounts of surface water. Under such circumstances, any simple but effective water storage augmentation facility such as rainwater harvesting (RWH) structures gain vital importance for sustainability of water supply and survivals in arid and semi-arid regions. The objective of this study is to explore the possibility of RWH over a basin in the western province of Saudi Arabia called Wadi Al-Lith under climate change. Climatic data is obtained from the IPCC AR5 GCMs, which is further downscaled using a regional climate model RegCM4 for the Arabian Peninsula domain. The RegCM4 is driven to simulate climatic parameters including rainfall at 25 km grid resolution for the present climate (1971–2000), and future climate (2006–2099) with representative concentration pathways, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Results indicate that more durable and longer wet durations are expected with increasing surplus rainfall amounts in the far future because of climate change impacts. Consequently, future climate scenarios are expected to enhance floods and flash floods occurrences, which call for progressive measures to harness the RWH opportunity.

Keywords: Arid regions; Climate change; Rainwater harvesting; Groundwater recharge; Wadi Al-Lith; RegCM; GCMs.

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