Optimal Sites Identification for Rainwater Harvesting in Northeastern Guatemala by Analytical Hierarchy Process

Ray Shyan Wu, Gabriela Lucia Letona Molina, Fiaz Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The Guatemala’s rural population have limited resources, high vulnerability to climate change, traditional agriculture practices and adversely affected by water scarcity. These problems engender the need for further economic development and imposed pressure on the existing water resources. In response, Rain Water Harvest (RWH) is the measure as an alternative source towards water shortage problem and a decrease in groundwater extraction. However, the identification of optimal sites for RWH is an important step to maximize the amount of water harvested and minimize the ecological impact. In this study, an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to determinate optimal sites using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in order to integrate spatial information. Physical and socio-economic features were main decision criteria along with six sub-criteria: potential runoff; land use; soil texture; slope; distance from agricultural land; and distance from roads. In the investigation, several different criteria with different AHP structures were utilized to assess the flexibility of structures. The result maps with respect to different criteria and AHP structurs are overlaid in a systematic scheme to identify the most suitable site for RWH project. The results identified four sites as optimally suitable and eight as highly suitable. The total 424,070.81 m3 volume of water can be potentially harvested from these optimally and highly suitable sites. The study area comprised of 770.61 km2 of Guatemala northeastern region and it is suggested that the RWH system for agriculture purpose should be promoted through government and multistakeholder co-operations as an alternative water resource.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4139-4153
Number of pages15
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Analytical hierarchy process
  • Geographic information systems
  • Optimal sites
  • Rainwater harvesting


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