(ERGO) – With the onset of the dry season (‘jilaal’) expected to last through March, 1,500 pastoralist families in Balididin in Somalia’s northern Bari region are feeling more confident about the availability of adequate water supplies this year to avoid the usual fighting over resources.
Hirad Mohamed Ismail, a pastoralist in Dawar village, is now relying on a reservoir dug last November. It filled up during the recent rains so Hirad no longer has to spend $8 to buy a barrel of water.
“Now, we feel relieved. The livestock is getting water [from this reservoir]. This area is very dry land with no wells,” said Ismail, father of eight. “We used to depend on small ponds. They were not enough for both the livestock and people. The nearest water source was 20 km away from the village.”
Seven reservoirs have been constructed in this part of the region by a group effort among 500 local people and diaspora community members hailing from Puntland.
Abdirisack Saed Farah, who managed the project, said the construction of the reservoirs in three villages – Balididin, Dawara, and Shebab – took two years and cost $200,000.
“We secured funds through contributions. Water has always been scarce in these areas. The project has provided free water to them and families can now stay in their villages without having to wander far for water,” Abdirisack told Radio Ergo.
The scarcity of water has been the cause of perennial community conflict in the past.
Ga’ashe Abdullahi Ali living in Shebab village in Qandala district said water was always a challenge for his family and livestock.
“There was serious water scarcity in the area. We used to buy a barrel of water for $30 dollars which we could not afford. As a result, even the livestock became very weak and could not walk to reach the water sources. But now since the res4rvoir was made there is enough water in the area,” Ga’ashe said.