German-Jordanian team takes on research on disaster management, water conservation

[13-01-2022 12:21 PM]

Ammon News - A research network led by the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE) is pursuing the identification of measures for reducing disaster damage in Jordan, which is also suitable for harnessing heavy rainfall in order to improve water supply.

Jordan is one of the world’s most arid countries and is particularly affected by climate change and extreme weather events. Heavy rain and flash floods repeatedly lead to high property damage and fatalities.

The German-Jordanian team of “CapTain Rain” started research work in Amman at the beginning of October. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), according to a statement from the German embassy.

The statement stressed that Jordan suffers from a lack of water. Eighty per cent of the country is a desert, and the few groundwater reserves are not sufficient to supply the population with sufficient drinking water and provide water for agriculture.

Climate change is exacerbating the situation, which is partly due to increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the statement said.

Prolonged periods of drought and aridity are increasingly followed by heavy rains with destructive flash floods.

“If we succeed in better predicting heavy rainfall events in the future, we can improve risk management and minimise flood damage, and also develop targeted solutions for sustainable water harvesting following heavy rainfall events,” said ISOE project manager Katja Brinkmann in the statement.

In order to develop suitable early warning systems and identify targeted adaptation measures to climate change in Jordan, the researchers are working closely with Jordanian research institutions, authorities and ministries in the transdisciplinary project “Capture and retain heavy rainfalls in Jordan”, or CapTain Rain for short, according to the statement.

The first stakeholder workshop and official launch event took place in Amman on October 3, 2021 with more than 50 participants from Jordan and Germany.

The project team also reported on the recent flood disaster that took place in Germany in July 2021, and together they discussed what lessons could be learned from this and how they could be transferred to Jordan.

As a result, the CapTain Rain team was able to identify knowledge gaps and needs for action in heavy rain risk prevention.

“To improve forecasts of extreme weather events, it is crucial to understand which are the social ecological drivers of flash flood events,” said Brinkmann.

“We want to find out what promotes flash floods in Jordan and investigate the complex underlying interactions between climate and land use.”

To this end, the team is working with a transdisciplinary research approach that also captures the perspective of stakeholders on site, as well as that of the local population and takes their knowledge and risk perceptions into consideration. The research team has already conducted expert interviews, and will continue to conduct interviews will civil society actors.

The results from CapTain Rain will also be important for other countries affected by heavy rainfall events. “The goal of the research project is to enhance current methods and tools for flash flood prediction and advance the prevention of disaster damage,” said Brinkmann.

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