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The Effect of Water Harvesting Techniques on Runoff, Sedimentation, and Soil Properties

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This study addressed the hydrological processes of runoff and sedimentation, soil moisture content, and properties under the effect of different water harvesting techniques (treatments). The study was conducted at three sites, representing environmental condition gradients, located in the southern part of the West Bank. For each treatment, the study evaluated soil chemical and physical properties, soil moisture at 30 cm depth, surface runoff and sedimentation at each site. Results showed that runoff is reduced by 65–85% and sedimentation by 58–69% in stone terraces and semi-circle bunds compared to the control at the semi-humid site. In addition, stone terraces and contour ridges significantly reduced the amount of total runoff by 80% and 73%, respectively, at the arid site. Soil moisture content was significantly increased by water harvesting techniques compared to the control in all treatments at the three study sites. In addition, the difference between the control and the water harvesting structures were higher in the arid and semi-arid areas than in the semi-humid area. Soil and water conservation, via utilization of water harvesting structures, is an effective principle for reducing the negative impact of high runoff intensity and subsequently increasing soil moisture storage from rainfall. Jessour systems in the valley and stone terraces were effective in increasing soil moisture storage, prolonging the growing season for natural vegetation, and decreasing the amount of supplemental irrigation required for growing fruit trees.

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We would like to thank the USDA Forest Service, the USAID Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC), and the US State Department for their financial support. We extend our thanks to Mr. Khaled Hardan, Osama Al-Jubeh, and Mohammad Al-Adam for their help in data collection.

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Correspondence to Ayed G. Mohammad.

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Al-Seekh, S.H., Mohammad, A.G. The Effect of Water Harvesting Techniques on Runoff, Sedimentation, and Soil Properties. Environmental Management 44, 37–45 (2009).

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