Road runoff is a major problem in the tropics because heavy rainfall can lead to rapid soil erosion, which causes multiple problems.
An UPGro catalyst project turned the problem into a solution by testing new road drainage designs in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, that channel the runoff into filtration ponds and swales, thus reducing flooding and increasing groundwater recharge for use by road-side farmers later in the year. This successful approach has been adopted by the Tigray roads authority and elsewhere in Ethiopia (9).
Since the end of their grant, the Roads for Water consortium have won awards and attracted further funding to investigate develop and scale-up these approaches in Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Nepal, Bolivia, and Yemen and is currently focused on Kenya. The lead partner, Meta Meta Research co-developed a detailed manual with the World Bank (8).
- Green Roads for Water Alliance: http://roadsforwater.org/
- Garcia-Landarte Puertas D. et al (2014) “Roads for water: the unused potential”, Waterlines
- UPGro (2015) Collecting Water With Roads – ground-breaking research wins Global Environment Award
- Global Resilience Partnership (2020) A Resilient Road Trip through Northern Ethiopia
- IDS Policy Briefing (2017): Improving Livelihoods Through Better Road and Water Integration and Planning,
- “Water Harvesting from Roads in Ethiopia: Techniques and Approaches” by Dr Kifle Woldearegay at International Conference on Geology, Mining, Mineral and Groundwater Resources, 11-13 July 2017, Livingstone, Zambia
- UPGro Catalyst Summary (2014) Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention
- The World Bank (2021) Green Roads for Water : Guidelines for Road Infrastructure in Support of Water Management and Climate Resilience
- Kebede Manjur Gebru et al (2010) Adoption of Road Water Harvesting Practices and Their Impacts: Evidence from a Semi-Arid Region of Ethiopia Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218914