Vulnerable Water Resource in Somalia


Water is the fundamental factor to sustain life. Water crisis is a big issue in Somalia. Due to the civil war in Somalia the hole system collapse. There is no permanent government that can take the responsibility to provide basic service to the people. Only some international NGOs working in Somalia for the betterment. If only water issue is raised except other serious issues, it is at stake. There is no enough water resource to fulfill the existing water demand, moreover, the quality of water is not standard.

According to the hydrological view there are only two rivers name “Jubba” and “Shabelle”. The run off coefficient of Jubba is 6.5% and Shabelle is 2.1%. High flood causes frequently in these river due to high level of river bed, embankment broken by people and closing the flood release channels etc. Unfortunately, drought is also a major problem in these two rivers. The lowest flow of the two river is zero or close to zero in several years. Salinity is an another problem for river water. Salinity is found maximum from the month April to June, moderate from December to march and slightly found in October and November.

There are only seven water basins and Gulf of Aden is the remarkable basin situated in northern zone of Somalia and it reaches to the Indian ocean. Except the Gulf of Aden, no basin can reach to the ocean as the rainfall evaporated and infiltrated quickly.

The wars and the barkads are most common water storage system in Somali village. These are the artificial catchment, water pan, pond or dam to accumulate storm water. The average size is 20 m long, 10 m width and 3.5m depth. As it is totally depending on storm water, there is no way to harvest the rainwater in dry season as a result, many people and livestock expire. A large number of people displace from village to the city in search of water only.

Boreholes, dug wells, springs and subsurface dams are the main source of groundwater. Though the surface water source is limited, these groundwater options are widely used to meet the minimum need of water for human and livestock’s. Due to the poor construction and common outlet for both livestock and humans, the quality of water falls. Average depth of wells are 2m-10m. On the other hand, borehole depth varies from 90m-220m depending of various zone. Many boreholes have been uncontrolled due to the unsustainable draw down of static water levels. Some springs are found in mountainous area of Somalia, but this is not enough to fulfill the water demand.

Water scarcity is the main obstacle for production and irrigation. The minimum annual rainfall is 20mm and maximum annual rainfall is 1350 mm. At the same time the annual potential evapo-transpiration is between 1500mm-3000mm which exceeds rainfall in all months of the year. So, crop production largely depends on riverine area of bay region. According to the information from Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALM), if 65% irrigation efficiency is considered, minimum 9230 m3 of water would be required per hector.

Water scarcity, salinity and electrical conductivity, turbidity, hardness are the main problem of drinking water. The urban area use artificial water resource. But it is a matter of regret that rural people have not enough resource of water in addition they drink water without any treatment. Sanitation system also vulnerable due to water. Besides environmental issues, the livestock’s, agriculture in the upshot the hole ecosystem is threatened only for the water. It is high time for the researchers, scientists, technologist and donors to come forward to help the feckless people.

Aminul Islam Sohan is Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Mogadishu University, Somalia. He is also a international correspondent at Association of Life Science and Engineering Writers (ALSEW). He can be reached at 

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One Comment

  1. mohamed bashir Adam

    thanks my teacher howe they can get enough
    resource of water in rural people in somalia as well they drink water with out treatment that is true

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