Somalia - Water Management amid recurrent drought

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See the Video
(Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rE3-4Gioj4)
Not enough to go around

Following a civil war and a four-year drought, a UNDP project focused on three challenges: empowering community-based institutions to promote equitable access and sustainable management of water resources; rehabilitating and constructing low-cost water sources; and introducing soil and water conservation measures.

Context

The project aimed to achieve water resource management whilst simultaneously empowering the local community.

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Togdheer and Nugaal Regions, Somalia

Stakeholders

The project was implemented by UNDP together with local NGOs.

Contacts

Samuel Gitahi, Programme Specialist – Environment, UNDP Somalia



Contents

Background and Significance

Background

Water-filled Berkhad
Water-filled Berkhad

The civil war in Somalia from 1988-1991 and instability in a number of regions over the last 15 years have created large numbers of internally displaced persons and caused many water sources to fall into disrepair, limiting people's ability to get water during the dry season. A drought in 2001-2004 made the situation worse, causing the weakening - and even complete breakdown - of traditional local water governance structures. A combination of factors, including the civil war, drought, lack of government institutions and lack of capacity for local governance institutions has resulted in severe land degradation, further depriving communities of their livelihoods. And as often happens in times of crisis, vulnerable groups such as female-headed households, children and internally displaced persons suffered the most.


Goal and Objectives

Effective water resource management, whilst empowering the local community. With improved local capacity, the project's sustainability improves.

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions

WHAT

To address the situation, a UNDP project in the Togdheer and Nugaal Regions in the northern part of the country focused on three challenges: promoting community-based institutions, with support from the district and regional administrations as ways to promote equitable access and sustainable management of water resources; rehabilitating and constructing low-cost water sources such as shallow wells and berkads; and introducing soil and water conservation measures such as tied ridges and bunds to ensure that the soil absorbs the water properly and thereby promotes regeneration. .

WHO

UNDP, local NGOs and communities all collaborated to achieve the project results.


WHERE

Togdheer and Nugaal Regions, Somalia


WHEN

HOW

Camel Watering
Camel Watering

In implementing the project together with non-governmental organizations, UNDP has tried to avoid past mistakes. Far too often during times of droughts and humanitarian crises, the international donor community arrives with pre-planned solutions - like digging a well or supplying water trucks - without involving or empowering the community. When the relief work ends, the local committees may lack the capacity to continue the efforts begun by the donor community. Committee members have expressed the need for partners to involve them in resolving their water problems through the use of relevant technology, taking into consideration their experience, past investments, values, and cultural beliefs.


When the community was involved from the beginning of the project, it was often willing to provide the needed labour, with UNDP providing the materials. This created local ownership and increased responsibility in ensuring the upkeep of the rehabilitated berkads and other water facilities.

Results and Impact

Following a civil war and a four-year drought, a UNDP project focused on three challenges: empowering community-based institutions to promote equitable access and sustainable management of water resources; rehabilitating and constructing low-cost water sources; and introducing soil and water conservation measures.

Lessons for Replication

  • Permanent water sources tend to attract people and their livestock for longer periods. In many instances, they are associated with overgrazing and even social conflict.
  • The communities preferred support towards rehabilitation of smaller water resources, rather than larger water storage reservoirs (earth dams). These private water points inherently affect the ability of community-based water management systems to control the surrounding grazing areas.
  • It is therefore important to take into consideration the potential user catchment when rehabilitating water resources.

Main Results

Outlook (Conclusions and Next Steps)

One of the major challenges that the project faced relates to ownership and equitable access to water resources. Traditionally, berkads were owned by individual households. It was proposed that the privately-owned berkads become considered as part of the community's resources. The communal ownership and control of such private and disused berkeds was negotiated through the traditional village committees. UNDP helped facilitate negotiations between the community committees and these water resource owners.

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions

References

See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

External Resources

UNDP Somalia

UNDP Somalia

Earthtrends Country Profile Somalia

Somalia Data Profile from World Bank group

Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Somalia

USAID

Interviewees and Key Contacts

Samuel Gitahi, Programme Specialist – Environment,

Attachments

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