Our local partner in Somalia, GSA, is bringing water on wheels to the peopled in drought affected areas in Central Somalia. Read the report from the field:

The Gu season rains either failed or performed below average in Hiran region, particularly and consequently the entire region has begun to experience multiple shocks including inadequate access to drinking water for both human and livestock, inadequate access to pasture for livestock and failure of rainfall dependent crops in both the agro-pastoralists areas communities causing decline in livestock prices and escalation of prices for critical food items thus resulting in unfavourable purchasing power among vulnerable households.

A visious circle

This drought also caused to a sustained loose of household assets in all livelihood sectors in the Hiran region and decreased livestock prices, thus reduce access to water and food for pastoralists. From this ongoing situation means that pastoralists will continue to suffer poor food security as well as reduced income for essentials such as food and water. Surviving livestock will have little nutritional or saleable value in terms of trade and lack of milk production reverting the pastoralists into a vicious circle.

Affected communities have already begun to adapt negative coping mechanisms including reduced meal portions, skipping of meals, reduced water consumption, splitting of herds and displacements of household members. Considering the current trends, if actions to mitigate the effects of the drought shocks are not carried out in good time, it is likely that the humanitarian situation may evolve into widespread emergency.

The main findings of the assessment indicate that there are extreme water and food shortages and households with food deficits increase affecting the social assistance affordability of the communities in these villages.

A short time solution

Due to scarcity of water, communities are forced to migrate to locations with functioning boreholes, thereby adding pressure to the sources that are already overused or to depend on water trucking which is expensive and unsustainable. The quantities of water available by trucking fall below SPHERE standards for domestic and livestock use because of the high costs of such operations. Water trucking can only be a short term solution as more sustainable solutions are sought.

Water and pasture situation

All surface water sources including earth pans and Berkads, Catchments, either did not received water during the season or have already dried except places with shallow wells and boreholes. Households interviewed in surveyed community report that they can only collect 30lts of the during normal times. This translates to about 4lts per person per day which is 3 times less than the minimum sphere standards. The price of one drum of 200ltr is 5 USD, the cost is very high and the community cannot afford to buy due to imminent drought of the areas and lack of purchasing power, the most priorities of the community include water, food and medicine.

The current problems can be summed up in to the following:

  • Low and sparse rain fall confined in Gu and Deyr seasons as experience of the last rainy seasons indicates.
  • Access to food of the local community limited because of lack of purchasing power
  • Water crisis – out of 200 sampled Berkeds 180 were dry (90%)
  • High water prices – $5 – $6 per drum
  • Nomads sell animals to buy food – livestock assets of the pastoralists depleted
  • Water availability at HH level far below SPHERE standards
  • Lack of affordability of buying water due to livestock prices dropped by 30% compounded with inflation.

Water trucking to most vulnerable drought affected villages

 Based on above mentioned summery of drought assessment, GSA has been implementing water trucking project for last several weeks as emergency life-saving project to severely affected areas.

Taking into account that water trucking is expensive in terms of logistical GSA has been prudently scrutinising to target the most needy people in the pastoral area of Beledweyne, where there is no other alternative option of getting water except trucked water.


Water for livestock

 Table I: Depicts summery of water trucking intervention (target locations, # populations, GPS, etc….)

Water source From KM District Target location GPS Coordinators # HH No: people No of liters Total Cost
Ali ganey borehole 60 Mahas Tedan 43732.53N, 454643.46E 3000 21000 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 60 Mahas Tedan 3000 21000 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 80 Mahas Bukure 44144.52N, 455227.21E 600 4200 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 80 Mahas Bukure   600 4200 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 90 Mahas Gadon 43816,65N, 455257.24E 300 2100 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 90 Mahas Gadon   300 2100 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 60 Mahas Tedan   3000 21000 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 60 Mahas Tedan   3000 21000 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 70 Mahas Surmo 43304.58N, 454417.18E 230 1610 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 70 Mahas Surmo   230 1610 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 55 Mahas Raqso 43447.08N, 454107.23E 200 1400 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 50 Mahas Magay 43317.08N, 454119.23E 250 1750 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 90 Mahas Ganunribad 42453.21N, 455328.24E 320 2240 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 90 Mahas Ganunribad   320 2240 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 30 Mahas Jiijo 43451.97N, 454116.43E 170 1190 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 30 Mahas Jiijo   170 1190 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 40 Mahas Juujuulo 43452.08N, 454116.11E 210 1470 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 40 Mahas Juujuulo   210 1470 10,000 $   250.00
Ali ganey borehole 50 Mahas Bukure   600 4200 8,000 $   200.00
Ali ganey borehole 60 Mahas Bukure   600 4200 10,000 $   250.00
    17310 121170 180000  

Quantity of water delivered and lessons learnt

Although SPHERE recommend 15 liters of water per person per day for adequate provision of water, during the intervention most populations in rural area were allocated 5Liters/person/day a quantity significantly less than during “normal” times. due to the following reasons::

  •  Logistically it was very difficult to ensure delivery of 15 Liters/person/day in sparsely populated areas with limited water resources;
  • 5 liters/person/day is considered the critical live saving indicator (SPHERE);
  •  Only drinking and cooking water should be prioritized during Emergency water trucking programmes.

Collecting water for animals

 Encourage key good hygiene practices

GSA conducted community mobilisation on awareness raising on hygiene promotion messages and are expected to change significantly and to ensure that there is no additional burden on water trucking volumes but still encourage key good hygiene practices. New key hygiene messages developed were in line with the scarcity of water to focus on good hygiene behaviour without the excessive use of water (e.g. cleaning hands with ash/sand, finding out how the communities keep clean by use of traditional leaves/rendered animal fat, using sand to clean cooking utensils, etc). In addition to messaging, it is essential to work with people who already utilize good practices to act as “change messengers” – more important than the messages themselves is the motivation to actually utilize these messages.

Other potential limiting factors in meeting the agreed volumes of water to the community were:

  • distance from tanker filling point to the distribution point;
  • number of water points available for use in the area;
  • number of water trucks available for hire in the area;
  • storage facilities available at the distribution point.