CapTain Rain – Capture and retain heavy rainfalls in Jordan

The joint project CapTain Rain aims to develop appropriate climate services for assessing and forecasting flash floods and to identify measures for the adaption to climate change and the mitigation of disaster damages. This includes measures to collect and drain water during heavy rainfall events.


The Middle East is particularly affected by climate change and extreme weather events. Over the past 50 years, heavy rainfall events in Jordan have caused many flash floods that lead to significant property damage and fatalities. At the same time, Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world and has few renewable water resources. Maximizing the benefits of heavy rain events in terms of water harvesting and minimizing flash flood damages is therefore one of the most important tasks when it comes to climate change adaptation in Jordan.

One prerequisite for minimizing disaster losses is the ability to accurately predict disaster events so that precautionary measures can be taken. Such “climate services” for risk prevention are a high political priority in Jordan, but have not yet been sufficiently put into practice. Despite recent scientific findings, there is a lack of basic hydrological and meteorological knowledge which is needed to better predict the occurrence and intensity of flash floods in Jordan’s wadi systems. A successful development and implementation of climate services also requires that it be done in cooperation with future users and decision makers. Here, transdisciplinary research methods enable a holistic analysis of flash flood hazards and hazard prevention and facilitate the transfer of scientific knowledge into practical measures for climate change adaptation.

In Jordan, the transdisciplinary research project CapTain Rain aims to help improve current methods and tools for flash flood prediction and prevention. For this purpose, the driving factors of flash floods in Jordan’s wadi systems will be analyzed and the complex interactions between climate and land use changes and hydraulic engineering measures will be deciphered. Based on vulnerability analyses and engineering solutions for water collection and drainage during heavy rainfall events, measures to protect the population will be identified. Climate services (e.g., flash flood risk maps, early warning systems, recommendations for heavy rainfall risk prevention) will be developed in close collaboration with Jordanian stakeholders and practice partners, taking into account scientific as well as local practical knowledge.

Research Approach

In order to analyze the vulnerability to flash flood hazards at various spatial and temporal scales, CapTain Rain follows a social-ecological research approach. An integrated vulnerability analysis of flash floods will be carried out within the network , which includes the analysis of the socio-ecological causes of flash floods and the identification, mapping and assessment of flash flood risks (exposure and sensitivity). In addition, risk perceptions will be investigated from the perspective of the local population and strategies for adaptation to heavy rainfall events will be developed. Model-based scenarios will be used to develop and evaluate measures to improve risk preparedness, including technologies to divert and use water from heavy rain events. Climate services for the prevention of heavy rainfall risks will be prepared and made available in a participatory manner. The study area includes the capital Amman with its 4.3 million inhabitants in the metropolitan region and the more rural region around the UNESCO World Heritage Site Petra. Both regions have been heavily affected by flash flood events in the past.

This joint project is headed by ISOE whose team will focus on stakeholder dialogues and transdisciplinary integration. Comprised herein are the compilation and translation of project results into easily accessible and user-friendly formats to meet the practical needs of different societal stakeholders. In addition, ISOE addresses the risk perception by the population regarding flash floods within the study area which includes decision making for protective measures in order to deal with these hazards. Interviews are used to determine how local people perceive, understand, and respond to flash floods and flash flood warnings. Based on these findings, recommendations for heavy rainfall prevention and a user-friendly establishment of early warning systems are developed. Furthermore, ISOE investigates which traditional methods have been used in the past for the retention, storage and utilization of rainwater in rural areas, on what kind of knowledge these methods are based and how this traditional knowledge can again be made available for today’s problems.

Research and project partners

  • Hochschule Koblenz, University of Applied Sciences (HK)
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Hamburger Stadtentwässerung AöR (Hamburg Wasser)
  • Institut für technisch-wissenschaftliche Hydrologie GmbH (ITWH)

Practice partners

  • Ministry of Environment of Jordan (MoE)
  • Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan (MWI)
  • National Agricultural Research Center (NARC)
  • Greater Amman Municipality (GAM)
  • Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA)


The project “CapTain Rain – Capture and retain heavy rainfalls in Jordan” is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding measure “CLIENT II – International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovation” in the context of the framework program “Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA).


Awad, Ahmad/Clara Hohmann/Katja Brinkmann (2022): Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Urbanization and its Impacts on Flash Flood Risk: A Case Study from Jordan's Wadi System. In: Tielkes, Eric (Hg.): Can agroecological farming feed the world? Book of Abstracs. Tropentag 2022. International Conference on Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development - September 14-16.9.2022, Prague Göttingen: Cuvillier Verlag, 588


2021/06 – 2024/05