Wadi el Ku water management

The problem

North Darfur is one of the most drought prone areas of Sudan.  Most of its population live in rural areas where they  depend on natural resources to support agriculture or animal husbandry. Recurrent drought and flash floods can cause food insecurity for many farmers and pastoralists and their families in Sudan. Limited natural resources also contribute and can lead to conflict at local level.

This project is working with communities in a 50km stretch of the Wadi El Ku catchment in North Darfur to demonstrate how effective, inclusive natural resource management can improve livelihoods through enabling sustainable increases in agricultural productivity. This will be achieved through the rehabilitation and improved management of land, forest and water resources. The intent is to create a model for inclusive and effective catchment management that can be replicated elsewhere in Darfur. 

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Improved management of water resources

Wadi el Ku catchment management project

Location: Eid El Beida, Abudelik, Waa’dha, Wad Kota and Bahr Omdurman, Kilmondo, North Darfur, Sudan 
Number of beneficiaries: 22,881 men and 19,830 women
Project date: January 2016 - March 2017
Partners: United Nations Environment Programme, 
Principal funders: European Union
Funding: $444,500

This project reduces vulnerability to water related hazards such as droughts and floods, to  support community livelihoods and reduce conflict through sustainable dryland management, using a variety of technologies.

  • Stabilising wadi banks to reduce erosion
  • Planting trees, shrubs and grasses for soil conservation 
  • Rehabilitating the hafir (dam)
  • Promoting agro-forestry systems and crescent terracing
  • Enlarging community forests
  • Building earth dams for irrigation
  • Improved access to food for vulnerable households

More than 40,000 tree seedlings have been planted.  Some of these will stabilise the wadi banks while others form part of the community forest. This season the terraces that were constructed flooded and successfully improved the amount of water harvested. Farmers have been busy planting land flooded by their terraces.

In Goz Beina, the rehabilitated hafir has significantly improved water availability for both the local communities – with three villages taking water from this hafir – and passing pastoralist communities.  This hafir is placed in a strategic location next to a migratory route and livestock grazing area.  Participating communities commented that as a result of improved water availability people have been able to remain in the villages after the end of the rainy season whereas in previous years they have had to leave for other areas which don’t suffer from water scarcity.

Sail Mayit and Korga water harvesting dams have an enormous impact on the livelihoods and lives of farmers. It has irrigated more than 1,200 acres of wadi agricultural land, from four communities displaced by conflict in early 2014. The dams have encouraged and enabled many displaced communities to return to settle in their villages. They have also successfully buried many of the deep gullies that lay upstream, encouraging further spreading of wadi water to arable land.

An assessment of the impact of these dams was carried out with the following results:

  • 69% of farmers have introduced new crop types after the dam was constructed citing increased water availability as their main reason for doing so.
  • 87% of farmers reported an increase in production as a result of the dams


Look how far your money can go

“Before the dam, there was not much water; it did not reach very far. Water now reached everybody! It now reached areas that haven’t had water for 20 years.” Aziza, North Darfur, Sudan


Wadi el Ku project wins 'Land for Life' award

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s Land for Life Award identifies and honors individuals or organizations who showcase effective and creative sustainable land management practices. This year’s theme of “Land and Human Security" pays tribute to work contributing to stability and security.  Read more...

Find out more about this work

Reaping the benefits of better catchment management in North Darfur (UNEP)

Food security and disaster resilience (Wadi partners)

Establishing a community forest


February Darfur appeal - Water harvesting in Darfur

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