Thursday, July 4, 2013

Africa’s tiny ‘sand dams’ can save millions from drought

Nilima Choudhury in Responding to Climate Change: Water-related diseases kill more than 3.5 million people every year – particularly in dryland regions of the world, making the ability to store and harness water crucial. Rising global temperatures are aggravating the effects of climate change creating more erratic weather leading to heavy rainfalls and drought.

The 2011 drought and the resulting famine in East Africa killed 100,000 people and sent food prices soaring. But reversing the devastating effects of climate change is possible. Sand dams can offer a cost-effective and sustainable solution to mitigating the impacts of climate change, the desertification of drylands and enabling green economic growth in dryland countries.

Drylands are home to more than one third of the global population, and make up 44% of all the world’s cultivated systems and account for 50% of its livestock. Local communities have teamed up with NGOs and the UN to build sand dams, concrete walls built across riverbeds, to combat environmental degradation and desertification that destroys wildlife and habitats.

In Kenya, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation and UK-based NGO Excellent Development work to empower marginalised rural communities to transform their environment for the sustainable and mutubenefit of the local ecosystem and people. They support communities to gain access to clean water for improved food security, health and income...

A sand dam, shot by angrahamneal, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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