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Community-based land and water management

Sudan Wadi El Ku and Kabkabiya in North Darfur State

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.

Nature-based Intervention:

Community members, together with Practical Action, an NGO based in the United Kingdom, 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.

Overview of context and outcomes:

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.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Not reported

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.

Adaptation: Positive

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.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

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.

Socioeconomic outcomes

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.


The local community, with the support of practical action, govern this restoration plan and focus on building consensus and establishing connections to in relation to the project. This takes the form of Natural resource management committees which focus on the equitable allocation of scarce natural resources such as water.


The project was funded by the NGO Practical Action.

Monitoring and evaluation

As part of sustainable management, local communities are actively monitoring resource use to prevent degradation and desertification.

Trade-offs and limitations

No information yet available on tradeoffs.

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Tall grass
Photo © Mikhail Tyrsyna

Intervention type

  • Food production
  • Management
  • Restoration
Targets poor/disadvantaged

Ecosystem type

  • Tropical & subtropical grasslands
  • Terrestrial production

Climate change impacts addressed

  • Loss of food production
  • Biomass cover loss
  • Drought
  • Desertification
  • Reduced water availability


  • International development organization

Societal challenges

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Conflict and Security
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Food security
  • Water security


  • Food security: Positive
  • Water security: Positive
  • Health: Not reported
  • Local economics: Not reported
  • Livelihoods/goods/basic needs: Not reported
  • Energy security: Not reported
  • Disaster risk reduction: Positive
  • Rights/empowerment/equality: Not reported
  • Conflict and security: Positive
  • No. developmental outcomes reported: 5


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Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology not reported