In the Sahel region of Africa, rain only falls for three months of the year. But the effects of the climate crisis mean that rainfall is becoming even more unpredictable. When rain does arrive, it falls on dry ground that hasn’t seen rain for nine months. By this time, the soil has dried out and formed a near-impenetrable hard crust. The land struggles to absorb rainfall and the water simply runs off or evaporates in the extreme heat.
This means that during much of the year, many of the communities we work with struggle to find enough water for drinking, cooking, and washing and to grow trees and crops.
We are working with farmers to implement even bigger and better solutions by building water-conserving ‘boulis’. Boulis are deep and large pits, roughly 30m wide and 3m deep, that catch water that falls in the rainy season. By assessing exactly where the rainfall water is collecting and understanding its natural flow, we can choose the perfect site to build these boulis.
Each of these water-conserving pits will hold an average of 2,500m3 of water — that’s roughly the same amount of water as an Olympic swimming pool! This will help provide communities with access to water all year round, despite limited rainfall and high temperatures.
Wildfires are common in the drylands region where we work. Water conservation methods and tree planting can help to reduce the risk of widlfires by increasing humidity. But how do you tackle wildfires in water-stressed regions without using up all of the water supplies?
Read our blog to learn how we're training communities in fire-prevention methods to reduce the risk of wildfires.