Jump to: navigation, search
Somalia is part of:
Africa · Arab States · Eastern Africa ·
Water Basins of Somalia:
Awash · Juba-Shibeli ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Mogadishu
Neighbouring Countries Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya
Total Area 637,657 km2
  - Water 10,320 km2 (1.62%) / 162 m2/ha
  - Land 627,337 km2
Coastline 3,025 km
Population 8,227,826 (12.9 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.299 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA n/a (1995)
Nominal GDPB $2,600 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $600
National UN Presence FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WB, UNESCO, UN-Habitat
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 10,539 km2 (1.68%)
     - Arable 10,288 km2 (1.64%)
     - Permanent Crops 251 km2 (0.04%)
     - Irrigated 2,000 km2
  - Non cultivated 159,713 km2 (98.32%)
Average Annual RainfallD 282 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 15.7 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 3.298 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 99%
  - For Domestic Use 0%
  - For Industrial Use 0%
  - Per Capita 401 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 29%
     - Urban population 32%
     - Rural population 27%
  - Improved Sanitation 26%
     - Urban population 48%
     - Rural population 14%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps
> Sector Assessment | Sector Coordination | Donor Profile

Latest 4 maps for / including Somalia (more..):

No maps (yet -> Upload some!)



Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Since 1991 when Siad Barre's government fell, Somalia has been a largely stateless society. Parts of the country such as Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, Maakhir, and Southwestern Somalia are internationally “unrecognized” autonomous regions. The remaining areas, including the capital Mogadishu, are divided into smaller territories ruled by competing warlords. Although the north of Somalia has some functioning government institutions, conflict prevails in many parts of South-Central Somalia. Instability and natural disasters have forced many Somalis to abandon their rural homes for peri-urban areas. However, rural flight is due not only to conflict, but is also part of a larger trend of permanent urbanization as rural Somalis seek better economic opportunities.

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Somalia’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector hardly exists outside of the relatively stable Somaliland and Puntland regions. The remaining two-thirds of the country (South-Central Somalia), including rural areas, is devoid of any real WSS institutional organization or oversight. Most Somalis obtain water from boreholes and shallow wells.

Shallow wells are typically located within settlements where the water quality is often polluted due to nearby latrines seeping their contents into the groundwater. This causes frequent outbreaks of water related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. The latest estimates suggest that less than 29 percent of the total population in Somalia has access to a clean, sustainable water source.

The Urban Sub-sector

Public water service is only operational in Somaliland and Puntland. Most operational water companies are local investor-owned operations with local business people as shareholders. Some companies have performed better than expected (with Boroma, Bosasso and Jowhar leading). Where water companies provide service, government authority over water planning, policy, and regulation remains virtually nonexistent.

These investor-owned water companies do not typically function well without considerable outside donor assistance. However, one company has had success in transitioning from a municipal agency to a public-private partnership. Jowhar, a town of 40,000 in Southern Somalia, is served through a management company named “Farjanno”, which operates under a concession from the regional Middle Shabelle Authority and includes representatives of key clans. The Farjanno has provided water services throughout much of the civil war and other newer PPPs have been able to reproduce similar arrangements with success. Similar arrangements were successfully facilitated in 2000 in Bossaso, Northeast Somalia (‘Puntland’); in 2003 in Galkayo, Puntland and Borama, Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) and most recently in Garowe, Puntland in 2005. All companies are operating successfully.

Sanitation facilities have a high number of users since no piped sewerage systems exist. In addition, migration from rural areas has placed added pressure on the few facilities found in peri-urban areas where migrants are settling. To some extent, temporary facilities have become permanent investments. To maintain these facilities, local organizations and the humanitarian community de-sludge using vacuum tankers. However, de-sludging in this case does not avoid water table contamination because infiltration is not stopped as in a septic tank. On average, it is estimated that 51 percent of the urban population has access to sanitation facilities. Few latrines are equipped with septic tanks and two-thirds of these are not managed. In areas where displaced people have settled, almost no sanitation facilities exist. This forces most to resort to open defecation on the periphery of peri-urban areas and refugee camps.

The Rural Sub-sector

Somalia is a water scarce country and precipitation variability appears to be increasing. Many of its regions have experienced severe droughts followed by severe flooding. In both cases, rural populations are particularly vulnerable, because of their limited resources or adaptive capacity. In addition, brutal conflicts have erupted in localized areas as water scarcity has increased. Multiple humanitarian agencies have had to implement major water trucking operations and other measures to provide water to drought-affected communities on more than one occasion. When drought conditions have subsided, humanitarian agencies, NGOs, and the donor community significantly scale-up WASH efforts to improve access to water through boreholes in rural areas. However, rural efforts are limited due to security problems caused by the ongoing conflict.

In most of the rural communities, traditional Somali law and Sharia Law continue to be upheld. The ownership of land and water is based on traditional Somali social structure where each clan is associated with a particular territory.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Before the civil war, urban WSS was managed by the public sector, but the systems were financially stressed and water supply systems in many cities were inadequate even before the breakout of conflict. Now, most WSS infrastructure either is damaged or has been poorly maintained during and after the conflict, rendering it inoperable. The continuing conflict and lack of organized governance have resulted in a virtual absence of public funding for the WSS sector except through limited allocations in Somaliland and Puntland. In these areas, most funding for WSS is provided through the United Nations and other humanitarian donors.

UNICEF provided support to the Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources in Somaliland in the development of a Water Policy, National Water Strategy and a Water Act. The Somaliland government has endorsed the 2004 Water Act.

In the absence of a central government, a local private sector has developed to fill the void in services. Entrepreneurs throughout the country are building cement catchments, drilling private boreholes, or shipping water from public systems in the cities. Remarkably, some water supply operations have shown a slight improvement over pre-war conditions, suggesting that 'local knowledge for local problems' may be more true than not. Somaliland and Puntland have attempted to re-organize their urban water sectors and have established basic local level WSS agencies and domestic public-private partnerships (PPP) to manage water sector development. Private sector participation has enabled some investment in basic water infrastructure expansion, but the domestic private sector is severely constrained. Typically, if a PPP exists, than a private operator manages services under a long-term concession.

No national or municipal institutions exist to handle sanitation, much less sewerage in Somalia. There is also no way for a sanitation service provider to recoup costs if one were to exist. For instance, Mogadishu’s operational sewerage system is only a fraction of its pre-war sewerage network. In the absence of a public sector provider, individual collectors have assumed the role and recover costs by charging households directly. Waste from the few functioning sanitation facilities and the waste gathered by the collectors are commonly deposited in wadis and landfills without consideration of public health or environmental degradation.

Donor Involvement

Donor involvement in Somalia’s WSS sector is primarily a humanitarian operation. Very little focus has been devoted to WSS financial, managerial, and technical issues. Somalia receives aid from several multilateral and bilateral sources. The United States is the largest bilateral donor while the European Union is the largest multilateral donor to Somalia. Other major donors include the World Bank, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark. Minor donors include Canada, Finland, Germany and Egypt. Several UN agencies, particularly the United Nations Development Program and United Nations Children's Fund, provide assistance as well. Most humanitarian operations are coordinated through UN – Somalia.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


Recently updated articles on Somalia
  1. Somalia/articles ‎(1,053 views) . . WikiBot
  2. Somalia/projects ‎(1,189 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Somalia/publications ‎(947 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Somalia/who is who ‎(1,059 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Somalia/Maps ‎(834 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki articles on Somalia

Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Somalia

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

  1. Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystem (ASCLME) Project ‎(7,612 views) . . Samuel Chademana

Case studies in or about Somalia

(by popularity)

  1. Somalia - Water Management amid recurrent drought ‎(15,774 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Somalia


5 most recently updated publications on Somalia

No results

5 most popular publications on Somalia

No results

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Somalia

Who is Who

People working in Somalia

No results

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Somalia

Organizations working in Somalia

No results

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Somalia


See also

External Resources



3010 Rating: 2.3/5 (38 votes cast)