On February 21st, 2017, MoWR launched the Water Resources Management & Investment Project through the African Water Facility, which is commissioned to execute the project.
Somaliland is located in the Horn of Africa with a population of 3.5 million and has climatic characteristics of hot summers, relatively cold winters and bimodal rainfall with two wet seasons locally known as Gu (April to June) and the Deyr (September to November).
Currently, Somaliland is experiencing two regional droughts that have severe impact on pastoral, and agro pastoral communities. The Somaliland’s economy relies on livestock and its products directly or indirectly account for more than 65% of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
The country experiences droughts and their occurrences are becoming more frequent, a phenomenon attributable to climate change as a result of global warming. Droughts have negative effects on Somali pastoral communities.
Historically, severe droughts have occurred in Somalia since 1964, 1969, 1974, 1987, 1988, 2000, 20001, 2004, 2008, 2011 & 2016. (FAO/SWALIM website). For example, in Togdheer region, there were 7 droughts in the last 35 years, 6 of them were experienced in the last 15 years (Inter-agency assessment report, 2016).
Due to El Nino, the pattern of climate change has resulted in two consecutive years of below average rainfall in Somaliland. MoWR and its partner, Somalia Water & Land Information Management (SWALIM), have predicted the country will experience near or below normal Gu & Deyr rainfall. The prediction has pushed many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities into the category of needing urgent humanitarian assistance, especially Water & Pasture.
The African Water Facility through the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) grant of € 3.0 million for the Government of Somaliland (GoSL), is seeking to enhance the water stress situation and plan the long term water resources development plan. The consulting firms NIRAS and We Consult are commissioned to undertake the technical studies and come up with bankable investment projects. Furthermore, the MoWR has appointed CARE International to be implementing partner for the Water Infrastructure Development (WID) program. Both programs WID & WRMIP are designed to assist the GoSL in terms of mitigating the natural disasters in drought prone regions.
Recently, MoWR welcomed a fact finding mission sent by Caritas Switzerland to assess emergency funding opportunities for hardest hit areas of Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag. On April 13, the mission went from Hargeisa up to Gar’adag and Fadhigaab (El Afweyn area) to witness the situation in one of the drought struck areas.
This is where the mission met the young boys and girls waiting for water brought in by the LNGO Candlelight generously supported by Oxfam-UK. The situation is very dire in Fadhigaab 500 km east of Hargeisa. Children cannot attend school at this moment. They spend their days waiting for assistance to arrive, just to receive 45 litres of water for the entire Household family. The nearest functioning water point is some 70 km eastwards. Water is distributed free of charge, but is hardly sufficient.
Finally, the hope is that both programs will complement each other and add to the National Development Plan II of Somaliland. The WID program is specifically designed to support in particular, the Hawd & Sool Plateau regions. Both projects will address the drought mitigation aspect and will assist the MoWR in reaching Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) of 2030, which coincides with the Somaliland Vision of 2030. Recently, AfDB has committed to invest in Somaliland nearly $25 million in total in the next three years. This is the first time AfDB has identified investment priorities & opportunities in Somaliland due to its stability and economic growth. Below is the breakdown of the investment:
€ 3.0 African Water Facility
$US 7.0 CARE International
$US 14 through Regional Organization of IGAD
Faisal Hashi, MBA, is an independent consultant who writes on issues about development, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH) and is the founder and managing director of Adam Financial Consulting Services and is currently based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He has worked for National City Bank, Bank One, J.P, Morgan Chase & City of Toronto as financial analyst in the US & Canada.
He can be reached at: Hashi44@hotmail.com