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World Water Day on 22nd March – Our project in Kenya is a prime example for a near-natural solution of local water crises

13. April 2018 - Kenya
The 22nd March is World Water Day. This year’s motto is “Nature for Water”. So the United Nations are laying the focus on projects promoting nature-based solutions for the challenges of droughts, floods and water pollution.

Our Kenya project fits into this category because in the counties of Makueni and Machakos, characterised by long droughts and water scarcity, the access to water is guaranteed by near-nature water storage solutions called sand dams. Together with our local partner organisation ASDF and the self-help groups from the local communities we construct 20 of such dams in our current project. Sand dams collect the precious rain water which usually just drains in the normal dried-out riverbed. It is stored for several months in a sand reservoir, which gathers by time in front of the dams and eventually becomes quite a few meters deep.

The advantages of this near-natural storage are clear:
•    More water stays available on-site.
•    Less water gets lost or evaporates.
•    The ground water level gets enriched.
•    The sand also filters the collected water.

The interference with nature still remains moderate. Though the cement walls appear like foreign objects in the rural areas on first glance, the dams’ design ensures that in the rainy season still enough water spills over and thus communities downstream don’t have to fear negative effects.

The United Nations are emphasizing the positive effects of the sand dams: Beside the drinking water extraction they enable the irrigation of fields for small farms and enhance the harvest yields, which guarantees an improved supply with foods and bigger incomes. In their own studies our partner organisation Africa Sand Dam Foundation obtains the same findings. In a recently conducted survey more than 60% of the participating families stated to have significantly better harvests and income possibilities now. Also their own nutritional status had improved.   


Portrait Patricia Kioko

“Our family needs 100 liters of water each day. Before the sand dam and the well were built we were fetching our water from the far away Tawa river. There were big snakes around and it could take up to two hours. Additionally the water was not secure enough to drink it. Now, with our well at the dam, I have access to clean water and don’t have to walk that far anymore to fill my containers. The cattle has enough water too and I can water my fields.”


Patricia Kioko from Muthini, member of the Mukaso self-aid group and mother of three

The solution of the local water crisis is the key to positive developments on-site. Our near-nature project creates supply security even during droughts. While quite a few families had to walk for up to 12 kilometers before to get to water, they can now reach the next hand pump at a sand dam within less than two kilometers.

To supply even more families in the dry areas of central Kenya, we ask you for a donation on World Water Day.

How much the families are profiting from the time gain by the water supply and which progress the agricultural sector is making you can read in our project description.

Which potential is in near-nature solutions for local water crises, you can read about on the website of the United Nations on World Water Day.