A combination of nature-based solutions and grey infrastructure aims to improve water availability while community resource management groups are working to ensure more equitable access to the scarce resource.
Increased unpredictability of rainfall in the Wadi El Ku and Kabkabiya catchment areas of the North Darfur State has led to increased pressure on already scarce groundwater sources. This challenge affects farmers in the area that rely on rain-fed crops like millet and sorghum for food security and livelihoods. Furthermore, pastoralists face pressure to overgraze due to sharp reductions in the plant density and diversity available for livestock. This overgrazing degrades land, reduces biodiversity, and increases desertification risks further exacerbating water scarcity challenges in the area. In some cases, the unreliable rainwater and dwindling groundwater supplies have led to the abandonment of settlements. Therefore, together with Practical Action, an NGO based in the United Kingdom, community members created an integrated water resource management plan (IWRM) to combine nature-based solutions, including the planting of high-quality indigenous grass seeds, with ‘grey’ infrastructure like building earth dams and crescent terraces. Agroforestry was also promoted in the area to restore the landscape and provide an additional source of income for community members. Most prominently, the local gum arabic tree was replanted and continuously managed. Many of the area’s water challenges also stemmed from inequitable water management systems. Therefore, the communities dependent on the watershed created inclusive natural resource management committees to ensure more equitable and fair access to the scarce resource.
Although no mitigation outcome was reported, the climate mitigation benefits of improved landscape management and efforts to combat soil degradation are well-documented in the literature.
A significant increase in available groundwater has been observed. Communities have reported that water points that had previously dried up are becoming available to them again. Furthermore, water is reported to be increasingly available year round, even in the summer months that exhibit peak demand. The reported recovered ability to better irrigate crops and sustain livestock is an important regained adaptive capacity. The recovered groundwater sources also help support the survival rate of trees and shrubs planted.
The improved land and resource management has reportedly helped combat the overgrazing that was known to contribute to land degradation and desertification. 18,000 seedlings were planted and ten community forests covering ten hectares have been created to help recover biodiversity in the area. The reintroduction of indigenous grasses is predicted to provide ecological benefit to the land.
Anecdotal reports cite greater social cohesion between farmers and pastoralists as a result of the improved resource management systems. Increased water security has reportedly provided health, income, and food security benefits for communities dependent on the watershed. 54% of households making use of available water harvesting structures reported an increase in crop yields of 50% or more.