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Ghazwan Mahmood

"Improving farming practices to save water in the Middle East"

According to the World Resources Institute, 14 of the 33 countries most likely to face water shortages by 2040 are in the Middle East. For farmers in the region, this means a reliance on irrigation systems, but these often lead to issues with run-off, where water isn’t absorbed by the soil. The result is a loss of crops and damage to the soil itself. PhD researcher Ghazwan Mahmood is responding by developing best practices for farmers to reduce run-off.

Working in Harper’s Princess Margaret Laboratories, covered Soil Hall and on the University Farm, Ghazwan is testing the effects that different soil treatments can have on water run-off. Alongside this, he’s designing and developing a water run-off sampler to measure his results in a way that’s more accurate and cheaper than current systems.

So far, Ghazwan has identified three soil treatments that create the best conditions for using an irrigation system, reducing run-off and saving water.

His work has received funding from Ministry of Higher Education/University of Anbar, Iraq. Equipment for the study has also been provided by Valmont — one of the world’s leading manufacturer of irrigation equipment.

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