Darfur landscape is characterized mostly by semi-arid climate and intensively used land: rainfall is concentrated in few months of the year; vegetation coverage is low and erosion rates are high. Conflicts, population growth and poverty also lead to increasing competition on the usage of natural resources. Planning and developing natural resources requires thus an integrated approach which analyses the physical and social contexts (geology, hydrogeology, geographical distribution of people, other social-political aspects) and seek for matching the different users’ demand versus availability.
Taadoud partnership works towards improved Natural Resources Management (NRM) in the five states of Darfur – North, South, East, West and Central. Acacia Water is supporting Taadoud II in identifying and assessing opportunities to implement small-scale infrastructure and increase water availability throughout the year. In cooperation with the implementing partners (NGO’s: CRS, NCA, Oxfam, UMCOR and World Vision), five hydrological catchment areas have been selected as pilot for implementation of 3R-interventions (Retain, Recharge, Reuse).
A series of analyses and tools have been used to better understand the geological conditions and categorise the potential for 3R-interventions. Remote sensing analyses have been carried out to identify geological features and distinguish the different soil coverage in the catchment areas. Satellite imagery and Google Earth imagery were also combined with existing geological and hydrogeological maps to give better insights in the potential and limitations of the project areas.
As a result, a 3R potential map has been produced distinguishing the potential for water storage in the landscape and for in-stream interventions. A SWAT model (Soil & Water Assessment Tool) was also set up for four out of the five catchment areas for a better understanding of the run-off processes and to estimate the expected groundwater recharge.
Based on the results obtained in the desk study and observations made during the field visit, a comprehensive set of measures have been proposed to increase (ground)water availability and reduce soil erosion. The most promising strategy is to promote reforestation to slow down run-off coupled with infrastructure to maximise retention; enhance recharge of shallow aquifers and develop artificial groundwater storage in the wadis bed, by infrastructure such as sand dams and subsurface dams. Such interventions will benefit livelihood activities and create opportunity for land and soil restoration. With the landscape approach we were able to make local stakeholders and implementation partners aware of the opportunities that the landscape offers for enhancing groundwater recharge and availability. Ideally, an IWRM approach (Integrated Water Resources Management) should be implemented in the area to ensure the long-term sustainability of the interventions and maximise stakeholder’s engagement.