Saving rainwater in the Gaza Strip

A new emergency employment generation program is helping to save fresh rainwater in the Gaza Strip. Funded by USAID and implemented by Catholic Relief Services, this program will build 257 water catchments for greenhouse agricultural use. Target areas will be poor and marginalized sections of Gaza, as well as those areas which suffer from low annual rainfall rates.

How the catchment works is quite simple: rainwater falling on the greenhouse roof is then gathered inside the adjacent catchment, which has the capacity to contain 10 hours of steady rainwater. As needed, the rainwater is then released into the greenhouse irrigation system, contributing a much needed - and cost-free - source of water.

The average cost of building each catchment is low, approximately $3,000, with the farmer or greenhouse owner contributing 10% of this cost. Construction of each catchment has an additional benefit: the creation of paid workdays for unemployed Palestinian breadwinners. Overall, the project will create more than 19,000 workdays of employment for 1,200 skilled and unskilled Gazan Palestinians.