25.03.2012 -

Groundwater resources in drought affected parts of the Somali region in Ethiopia: new agreement between DFID and UNESCO

UNESCO and DFID launch a new initiative on the identification of groundwater resources in drought affected parts of the Somali region.

The Somali Region of Ethiopia is composed of semi‐arid and arid areas with high rainfall variability which favours pastoralism or agropastoralism as the two main options for income generation and livelihood in general.  Recurrent drought has a major impact on livelihoods and been a frequent cause of asset loss and human and livestock mortality.

The DFID supported needs assessment conducted by UNESCO will provide a clear and readily accessible baseline on the existing hydrogeological and groundwater information in the Somali region that will inform water sector programmes.  In particular, the project will refine the identification of stakeholders, collect and store existing information on the water resources and geology of the region and have the latter validated by the stakeholders. The project will also seek to establish a mechanism by which this date will be accessible freely to all sector stakeholders.

Following this exercise, Government of Ethiopia and UNESCO intend to launch a large scale initiative which will be able to map the groundwater resources of the area, identify areas of recharge and draw conclusions on the surface – groundwater interactions by using the validated information and recently developed remote sensing technology.  This information will then be available freely to be used for every required application, including provision of potable water, agriculture development, pastoralist applications etc.

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