>> RAGHDA: The Middle East, a region with a rich history, strong cultural roots, and
an area which humans have inhabited for thousands of years.
Once part of the Fertile Crescent, this region of the Middle East was one of the most fertile
areas in the world, due to its ideal climate for growing crops, its abundance of natural
water bodies, and regular and predictable seasonal rains.
Currently, the Middle East is home to 6.3% of the global population but it contains only
1.4% of the world's renewable freshwater.
This has led to severe water scarcity in the region as the combination of population growth
and urbanization have led to the over-exploitation of aquifers and the contamination of water
Changes in climate may further decrease availability or accessibility of water resources, which
could result in hindered economic growth and consequently, increased poverty, social instability,
and food insecurity.
>> MICHAEL: One way to increase water resources is rainwater harvesting, which has been implemented
in the region for millennia.
When rainwater comes into contact with a surface, it is directed to a point, where it then flows
into a barrel or cistern.
A network of pipes connects the rain barrels or cisterns to the plumbing in the school,
so that when water is needed for sanitation purposes, the harvested rainwater is used.
>> BRENDAN: The Water Resources Action Project, or WRAP as we refer to it, is a purely volunteer
group of environmental professionals that are utilizing rainwater harvesting systems
in the Middle East to provide impoverished schools and the communities that they operate
within with greater water security.
>> HANNAH: The Middle East Water Resources DEVELOP team at the NASA Langley Research
Center created a precipitation climatology using the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission,
the Global Precipitation Measurement, and other NASA Earth Observations data to quantify
and visualize monthly precipitation rates to identify the locations most suitable for
In addition, the team created PRiME, the Precipitation Interface for the Middle East.
>> VISHAL: In order to create PRIME, we processed and uploaded precipitation, groundwater, and
evapotranspiration data, as well as the shapefiles for school locations and the study area, into
Google Earth Engine API.
partner schools can interact with, by the click of a button.
PrIME can also incorporate new, near real-time data and continue to monitor precipitation
and other important variables to the water cycle in the region.
Finally, from the output data generated by PrIME's graphs, we conducted several statistical
analyses to see if there were any correlations between the modeled climatic variables.
Our analysis of the data demonstrated that the region has experienced a decrease in groundwater,
while rainfall has generally remained fairly constant.
We also found that almost all of the precipitation falls between December and February, and often
there is minimal or no precipitation in the area between April and August.
>> BRENDAN: Having the data of where the stresses of water availability are greatest allows
us to be able to take our limited resources and apply them in the communities where these
schools are suffering from, I think, some of the most dire water shortages.
>> HANNAH: With the help of our tool, WRAP can provide rainwater harvesting materials
where they're needed most.