Somalia – New Dam Projects to Provide Water and Flood Protection

Somalia has moved to construct flood mitigation structures under a new climate change adaptation framework, which is supported by the United Nations and the European Union as part of plans to abate increasingly erratic climate in the region.

The northeastern State of Puntland, which experienced severe flooding due to a tropical storm in which over 100 people were killed in late 2013, has so far constructed two flood detention and retention dams, according to the Ministry of Environment.

On 30 April, a government delegation toured the newly completed Bilcil sand dam, constructed across a strategic stream to enhance climate resilience against floods.

“This hydraulic structure has stored an estimated 8,000 cubic meters of water this week, mostly runoffs from watersheds upstream,” said Mohamed Isse Mohamed, head of Innovative Climate Resilience Project at Puntland Environment Ministry.

Deputy Minister of Environment, Farah Ali Abdi told local media, “We have planned to construct a series of check dams to curb recurrent natural disasters threatening the livelihoods of pastoral communities.”

The President of Puntland State, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali believes that the USD 9.5m project will be vital in helping local communities to contain future flood events.

Funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Environment Programme and Germany, the new initiative seems to be materializing in first phase.

Puntland handed over Biyagadud sand dam near the coastal town of Bandar Beyla to local communities in November 2015. The dam supplies communities with water as well flood protection. UNDP says:

“The dam was strategically placed 75KM away from the Dhudo village between Bander Bayla and Dhudo, a central location where nomadic people and communities from a large swath of the area could access water supply for livestock and agriculture. With help from El Nino rainfalls, the dam was able to conserve nearly 40,000 cubic meters of water this year. That supply can last up to four to six months”.

Puntland Environment Ministry has spearheaded other flood mitigation measures including reforestation and protection of vegetation in response to the practice of charcoal burning, reported to be widespread in Somalia.

Water in Somalia. Photo: African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM)
Water in Somalia. Photo: African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM)