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Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 765–777 | Cite as

Potable water strategies in southern Mudug, Somalia, with special reference to the local economics of motorised borehole systems for watering nomadic livestock

Report

Abstract

The southern Mudug region of Somalia has been without coherent national government and an international non-governmental organisation (NGO)/UN presence in recent years. Despite this, a functioning water economy can be found, with supply elements based on rainwater harvesting (berkads), shallow wells, motorised deep borehole systems and water tankering. The author argues that this is partly because groundwater has a clear economic value to villages (they can sell it to nomads) and to nomads (without it they will lose the capital that is their livestock), and because there is a revenue collection structure at motorised borehole systems. The ability to understand the economic value of water from the perspective of the user community is a key ingredient in a successful water-supply project in impoverished rural areas.

Keywords

Africa Somalia Nomad Economics Water supply 

Abbreviations

AID

United States Agency for International Development

FAO

(United Nations) Food and Agriculture Organisation

FSAU

Somalia Food Security Analysis Unit

GDP

Gross domestic product

ICRC

International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent

“Motorised borehole system/scheme”

A water-supply borehole installed with a motorised pump (typically an electrical submersible pump, powered by a diesel generator)

NCA

Norwegian Church Aid

NGO

Non-governmental organisation

SOS

Somali shilling. US$1 = ca. 14,000 SOS

SWALIM

FAO Somalia Water and Land Information Management Unit

UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme

UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund

WES

Water, Environment and Sanitation (a UNICEF/Government of Sudan project)

WFP

World Food Programme

Résumé

La région du sud de la Somalie a été dans ces dernières années sans gouvernement national cohérent et sans la présence d’organisations non-gouvernementales internationales (NGO) ou d’agences UN. Malgré cela, une économie de l’eau qui fonctionne est présente, avec des éléments d’alimentation basés sur la collecte des eaux de pluie (berkads), des puits phréatiques, des puits profonds motorisés et des cuves à eau. L’auteur montre que cela est en partie dû au fait que l’eau souterraine a une valeur économique importante pour les villages (l’eau pouvant être vendue aux nomades) et pour les nomades eux-mêmes (l’eau est nécessaire à leurs troupeaux), et parce qu’il existe une structure de paiement au niveau des systèmes de puits motorisés. La capacitéà comprendre la valeur économique de l’eau du point de vue de l’utilisateur et de la communauté est un élément clé de la réussite d’un projet d’alimentation en eau potable dans les zones rurales appauvries.

Resumen

La región de Mudug al sur de Somalia ha estado sin gobierno nacional coherente y la presencia de una organización no-gubernamental e internacional (NGO)/de la ONU en los años recientes. A pesar de esto, puede encontrarse una economía del agua funcionando, con elementos del suministro basados en cosecha de agua lluvia (en berkads), pozos poco profundos, sistemas del pozos profundos motorizados y almacenamiento en tanques de agua. El autor defiende que esto es en parte porque el agua subterránea tiene un valor económico claro, para los pueblos pequeños (ellos pueden venderla a los nómadas) y para los nómadas (sin ella ellos perderán el capital que es su ganado), y porque hay una estructura de acumulación de ganancias en los sistemas de pozos profundos motorizados. La habilidad de entender el valor económico del agua, desde la perspectiva de la comunidad usuaria, es un ingrediente importante en un proyecto de suministro de agua exitoso en las áreas rurales empobrecidas.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank S. Mutua, M. A. Muhamed and A. Wais for their stimulating company during the assessment mission and for their solidarity in the face of awkward qat-running aircraft stewards (qat is a mildly narcotic plant, imported from Kenya to Somalia)! In particular, J. Thuku is thanked for his excellent leadership of the assessment team. Mr. A. Duale is also thanked for his great assistance in providing much of the logistical support for the mission: transport, security, accommodation, contacts and some fine breakfasts. The skills of the pilot of a yellow DHC-5 Buffalo were much appreciated in bringing us safely back to Wilson Airport despite an engine failure. The author wishes to emphasise that the opinions expressed in this report are entirely his own: they do not necessarily reflect those of his colleagues, his employers or of Norwegian Church Aid.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Church AidOsloNorway
  2. 2.HERO Group, Sir Joseph Swan Institute, Devonshire BuildingUniversity of Newcastle-upon-TyneNewcastleUK

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