Water Harvesting techniques and strategies of soil and water conservation in Libya
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Land degradation in massive scale and water scarcity become serious problems which are beyond the farmer’s capacity to solve in Libya. In order to plan an adequate land management, ICARDA introduces some new water techniques to be studied in research and development activities. A long-term strategy stressing the necessity to conserve the national soil resources and to harvest the surface water resources was set up. The conservation measures planned are of different types and tend to be site specific and tailored to fit in with the local farming systems, customs and environmental conditions. They are classified in directly productive measures (tree plantation, crop rotation, mulching, Meskat, contour farming…), indirectly productive measures (contour banks, terraces, stone bunds …) and water management interventions (cisterns, ponds, small farm dams…). An integrated approach has been developed for the selection and characterization of benchmark watersheds (biophysical and socioeconomic aspects). Site selection is done through analysis using geographic information, systems (GIS), surveys, and rapid rural appraisal to build a comprehensive database that is useful for integrated watershed monitoring, assessment and management. A multi-criteria participatory approach was applied, which includes activities in planning, research and training as well as in project implementation and monitoring. All the activities were carried out in close cooperation between ICARDA and the Libyan national Research Center. Four pilot watersheds were identified as most suitable and within these watersheds four pilot sites were selected in 2010 to constitute pilot projects for demonstration. Various criteria have been taken into consideration to decide on priorities such as accessibility, acceptability by beneficiaries, expected participation of farmers, climate, soil and topography.