Status: Completed.

Funding: SRTD II

One of the secrets of sustainable management in this part of the world is effective use of all water resources available. Over the centuries and millennia, the people of the region optimized the use of runoff water for irrigation and, by the way, controlled floods. This was especially crucial for the ancient city of Petra.

In the initial phase of this project, two terrace areas in the Wadi Musa (Petra) drainage basin were subjected to detailed hydrological investigation. The aim was twofold: to understand and document the design of the terraces and to determine quantitatively the impact of these terraces on water flow and infiltration. For this purpose, both field experiments and measurements were conducted as well as computer modelling. The results show that sophisticated strategies were used to optimize for varying objectives of flood control, soil conservation and agriculture. Moreover, the terraces did have significant positive impacts in this regard. Details of the results are available.

Additional funding for this project is being sought, as the various stakeholders have expressed keen interest in the result. The management of the Petra Archaeological Park is interested in using the results to mitigate the flooding problem in Petra, and local community representatives are interested in reviving successful agricultural practices of the past. Both of these worthy objectives require more detailed research and pilot projects to test their feasibility.