A subsurface water retention system to collect rain water and fight the desertification

L. Pari, W. Stefanoni, F. Latterini, A. Suardi, N. Palmieri, V. Alfano, S. Bergonzoli, S. Lazar, Ana Luísa Fernando, M. Rashad, A. Outzourhit

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The increasing demand for sustainable food and non-food biomass production is challenging farmers all over the world, particularly in those areas where are short in water supply. Besides, the constant spreading of desertification in the Mediterranean region makes cropping even more difficult. In fact, the main problem related to desertification is the reduction of rainy events in a given region, although the annual rainfall remains constant. Hence, surface water reservoirs are accessible only for a limited period of the year forcing farmers to rely on belowground water, which is expensive and, sometimes, impossible to carry out. In the framework of MediOpuntia Project, a possible strategy to harvest rain water in arid and semiarid regions of the world, is represented by the installation of subsurface water retention Technology (SWRT) made of impermeable U-shaped barriers laid 80-100 cm belowground with aim to prevent water loss due to percolation. In addition, also soil nutrients loss is prevented as they will be collected by the membranes and kept available to roots after major rainy events. So far, the market still lacks the availability of machineries capable to lay impermeable membranes belowground in a single pass, and the present Project aims to fill this gap. The present study aims to develop and test a machinery capable to lay an impermeable membrane at 80-100 cm belowground to catch rainwater in arid and semi-arid areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event29th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, EUBCE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 26 Apr 202129 Apr 2021


  • Climate change
  • Semi-arid areas
  • Water harvesting
  • Work performance


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